Every year as we sit in shul during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we make a chesbon nefesh – a reckoning of our actions and reactions. And as we beat our chest and confess our sins, we sincerely promise ourselves that this time we will do better, that we will improve and make a greater effort to control our yetzer harah – the powerful, human inclination that pushes us to gossip, to be jealous, to be hurtful, and to indulge in activities that we know are wrong and sinful.
Our intention to reform ourselves is sincere – but we usually fall back to our old habits rather quickly. But Hashem has mercy on His flawed children – and forgives us. May He always shower Klal Israel with His chessed – and may we this year successfully challenge ourselves to do His will – even if it’s one mitzvah at a time.
‘Al Chait… (For The Sin…)’
As darkness falls, we turn on the light,
Thank You, Hashem, for the gift of our sight.
Yet we misuse Your blessing, we cause others to cry,
Envy and resentment bring out our Evil Eye.
When our children call out to us, we have no fear,
For you have blessed us with the ability to hear.
Yet we use this bracha to listen to idle gossip,
Instead of walking away, or trying to stop it.
When we need to communicate, to verbally reach,
We Just open our months for You blessed us with speech.
But we abuse this precious gift, for we lie, and we smear,
We humiliate and belittle, we scream and induce fear.
Our hands enable us to do as we please,
We can touch, we can hold, we can grasp with great ease.
Yet we use Your divine gift to hit, to cause pain.
Even when our minds tell us there is nothing to gain.
We can go as we please, whenever we are ready,
You gifted us with legs that are strong and steady.
Yet we run to do acts that we know are not right,
As we give in to impulses that we choose not to fight.
This Yom Kippur was no different from those of the past,
When we promised to mend our ways, vowing our efforts would last.
Indeed we behaved, we self-controlled, we had some good days –
But too quickly we slid back to our familiar, sinful ways.
You have been so very patient, You forgive us each year,
Truly You are a Father who holds His children dear.
Please continue to love us, though our iniquities persist.
For without Your loving kindness, we would not exist.