Tag : teshuvah

October 23, 2020 by

Our Communal Responsibility

Teshuvah, often translated as “repentance,” really means “returning” or “turning around.” This act is not a single one but a process of becoming accountable: we evaluate our actions, repent for the bad choices, apologize to those we have offended, and make amends for injuries. Because God cannot forgive us for what we have done to another human being, we must deal directly with the persons we have injured. We should be able to show progress by Yom Kippur; although, Maimonides, the tenth-century scholar, says we can be certain that our teshuvah is complete only when we encounter a similar situation and make a better choice. Teshuvah is not a once-a-year event, however. All year long, a confessional prayer is included in the weekday Amidah, but some of us need a deadline to get us moving….

Much is demanded of us when we repair a relationship, but returning to one another is healing and joyous.

During the multiple services of Yom Kippur, we recite confessions both silently as individuals and aloud as the corporate entity of the People Israel. We do so because “All Israel are guarantors for one another” (Shevuot 39a). When we confess aloud, we assume communal responsibility for one another’s actions. For example, if someone stole and we did not intervene, or if we did not offer destitute people an option other than theft, the whole community shares this guilt.

From Tales of the Holy of the Holy Mysticat by Rachel Adler.

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The Lilith Blog

July 28, 2020 by

Why We’re Doing Public Teshuvah to Fight White Supremacy

Photo by Hannah Roodman

Photo by Hannah Roodman

Heading to Grand Army Plaza at 7:20 pm. Seeing a group start to gather, forming a circle. Picking up the protest sign that speaks to me from the middle of the circle. Finding a place in the circle to stand and hold up the sign. Stepping into the center to share what aspect of systemic racism I am mourning that day. Or, stepping into the circle to confess how I myself have participated in and perpetuated racism and anti-Blackness. Actively listening. Turning my body East at 8:00 pm. Blowing the shofar for one long breath. Hearing those around me cry out to the Heavens. Standing silently for a moment. Turning back to face the circle. Stepping into the circle again, this time to share a specific way that I will be actively anti-racist moving forward —my commitment to this community. Actively listening. Putting the protest sign back in the middle of the circle. Saying hello to friends and community members. Returning home. 

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