lwe tqyrpb Kjynpl wnafju afj le For the sin we have sinned before You in throwing off [Your] yoke
ted ylb Kjynpl wnafju afj le
For the sin we have sinned
before You without knowing
“Casting off the yoke” connotes a mental image of an ox freeing himself from the wooden device that tethers him
to the other ox with whom he pulls the plow. His freedom, however, will impose an impossible burden for his partner to bear
alone, and will result in an untilled earth, incapable of vegetation. Casting off the yoke of the commandments means not only
that our Partner will be forced to perfect this world alone, without our help, but also that we will cease to be connected to our
Partner in the same way that we once were while walking and
working together under the yoke of the Law.
Angela Himsel has been widely published and her bi-weekly column
“Angetevka” appears on www.zeek.forward.com and the Huffington Post.
dy tmwutb Kynpl wnafju afj le
For the sin that we have sinned
before You in the matter of
extending a hand
The traditional understanding refers to breaking a financial promise, a violation of fiduciary commitment. Given the breakdown of world economies
over the last couple of years, mostly
brought about by abuse of the public
trust, little more need be said about
why this al chet is included.
But this al chet, at the very end of
our list, implies that we need to repent
for any breach of trust, the precondition on which all civil society depends. Without trust, there is no hope
— and thus only the loneliness of our
private angst. Its breach is a sin that
Rabbi Richard Marker, who teaches philanthropy at
New York University, advises philanthropists and
Istruggle with the lack of impulse control. This can be a plus and a minus. As a comedian, it
has been helpful. Comic interjection feeds on the
power of not overcoming impulse — of being
able to offer a riposte almost instinctively, and of
not waiting for any inner censorship or extensive
rumination. Rumination may be good for
philosophers; for comics, it is death.
But generally, it is a weakness that causes
needless suffering for me and for those with
whom I’m close. “Acting without thinking” can
result in thoughtless and dangerous behavior. It
also makes me a bit gullible to cold calls from investment companies.
Certain spiritual practices help curb a lack of
impulse control: living more intentionally, practicing meditation, slowing down (if that’s really
possible for a pulpit rabbi), and increasing self-awareness.
In some cases, an immediate, impulsive response can be quite successful; in other instances, it leads to misjudgment.
Moshe Waldoks is the co-editor of The Big Book of Jewish Humor,
and rabbi of Temple Beth Zion, an independent synagogue in
lwe tqyrpb Kynpl wnafju afj le For the sin we have sinned before You in throwing off [Your] yoke YOSEFA FOGEL
Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik teaches that in the same way in which disease is often foreshadowed by physical pain, sin is often accompanied by a personal
sense of discomfort in one’s own skin — by a deep-seated feeling of wrongdoing.
But as I throw my right fist against my upper left chest, I suddenly recall the
moments when sin felt wonderful — when removing God’s burden afforded me a
respite from the limitations of halakhah and exalted personal expectation.
I hit my chest a bit harder. I shouldn’t be standing here nostalgically thinking
about the choices I do not always regret.
Yosefa Fogel, a recent graduate of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, lives in Israel
and is pursuing a master’s degree in Tanach at Bar-Ilan University.