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Why should I ask to be forgiven for sins on Yom Kippur I haven't done? Isn't that disingenuous?

Surely, each of us individually have not done all the sins listed in our mahzor (High Holiday prayer-book) on Yom Kippur. But there are a couple of reasons why we refer to them anyway:

  • Jewish prayer is communal, and we bear communal responsibility for the missteps in our society. This is why almost all of our prayers, and confessions, are listed in the plural.
  • It's always possible we've forgotten about a mistake we've made, and by asking for forgiveness for the long list of sins, we're covered in case there are mistakes we've made without realizing it.

"The entire world is a very narrow bridge - the key is to not be afraid." -Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

Mon, October 21 2019 22 Tishrei 5780