A Season of Repentance!

As I wrote in my most recent blog entry, A Season of Reflection, Repentance, and Celebration, we are in the midst of a very special season! It is a time when the Jewish people reflect upon our lives, our relationship with our God, and with our neighbors. We repent and seek forgiveness from the Lord and from our brothers and sisters we have sinned against. We celebrate as we remember our great and awesome God, what He has done for us, and the great hope we have in Him for the future! It is a season that ought to bring a change in our lives as we rededicate ourselves to the Lord and to His calling.

The act of repentance ought not be the “easy” way out by simply using the words, “I am sorry” or “Please forgive me,” but rather a true understanding of the wrong that was done, coupled with sincere regret, and whenever possible, restoring the wrong with an act of blessing or restitution.

One of the things that my wife and I teach our children when they have wronged someone is to ask for forgiveness for the specific wrong he or she has committed. When a person needs to name the way he has sinned against someone, that person must take responsibility for his actions. It is very different to say, “Please forgive me for lying to you” (or hitting you, stealing from you, or whatever the offense) than to simply say, “I’m sorry” or “Please forgive me.”

I believe it is the same principle when we confess our sin before the Lord. When we come before Him, it is important to voice the specific sins for which we are seeking forgiveness. As we approach Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) for us as believers, while we are thankful for the everlasting sacrifice that our Lord did for us, let us not take His grace in vain, but instead reflect on the areas that we need to repent of, seek His forgiveness, and return to Him as we run away from sin.

Last year, I wrote a blog on Yom Kippur and how sacred a day it is; I felt the need to simply remind us all of this. I pray that this season will indeed be a season of change as we approach His throne of grace! Join me in reflecting on this once again:

“And this shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall torture your souls, and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you; for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD. “It is to be a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.” Lev 16:29-31

This day is incredibly sacred, as we take the time for deep self-reflection and repentance. During the traditional services in the Synagogues, we read one of my favorite prayers called “Al Chet”. In this prayer, we recite and confess a list of our sins before the Creator. For me personally, I find this prayer to be very special, as it is an amazing reminder of two very important points of anyone’s life.

The first point is that we are sinners. This special prayer forces us to reflect upon a list of our sins that often are forgotten; indeed, as I read this list (10 times over the course of the fasting time of about 25 hours) I am reminded of so many areas in my life that are in need of change and return to God Almighty.

The second point, which I am reminded of as I read this long list of sins, is how little I am and how big God is… in short, how much I am in need of a Savior. It reminds me how grateful I am for God’s amazing and endless grace to provide for me the only acceptable Atonement, Yeshua the Promised Messiah, to pay for all of those sins and how important it is for me to walk in His ways.

I also take the time to pray for my fellow countrymen who are also praying and repenting. While they believe that this type of prayer will cause God to “seal” the Book of Life and that they can now start a new chapter, they sadly ignore the fact that from the beginning (Adam and Eve), a blood sacrifice was required to atone for our sins and make us acceptable to our Creator.

Please join me in this season of fasting and praying. Let us first and foremost return to God and repent of our own sins; let us remember during this time the only acceptable sacrifice by which men can return to God (in accordance to God’s requirements and not man’s); and let us pray that Yeshua will reveal Himself to the Children of Israel during this time.

Below is the part of the text of the “Al Chet” prayer (This is the first part, which goes in alphabetical order according to the Hebrew “aleph-bet”). I invite each of you dear brothers and sisters, to say this beautiful prayer with me:

“Al Chet”

For sin which we have committed before You under duress

For sin which we have committed before You without thought

For sin which we have committed before You by committing incest

For sin which we have committed before You with knowledge and with deceit.

For sin which we have committed before You by the meditations of the heart

For sin which we have committed before You with confessions of the mouth

For sin which we have committed before You with malice

For sin which we have committed before You hard heartedly

For sin which we have committed before You inadvertently

For sin which we have committed before You through speech

For sin which we have committed before You with the evil inclination

For sin which we have committed before You intentionally or unintentionally

For the sin which we have committed before You with falseness and with deceit

For sin which we have committed before You through defamation

For sin which we have committed before You through appearances

For sin which we have committed before You by giving or taking interest

For sin which we have committed before You by our verbal confessions

For sin which we have committed before You secretly

For sin which we have committed before You by a haughty demeanor

For sin which we have committed before You by speech

For sin which we have committed before You by running to do evil

For sin which we have committed before You by ungenerosity

For sin which we have committed before You willingly

For sin which we have committed before You inadvertently

For sin which we have committed before You in business dealings

 For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us

Shabbat shalom!

Moran

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One Comment on “A Season of Repentance!”

  1. Dear Moran,
    Bless you for your help to prepare me for the Day of Yom Kippur.
    Sincerely, Kathryn

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