Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Forgive Me for I Have Sinned

After reading Big Tobacco’s heartfelt Yom Kippur blog post (, I wanted to write one myself. Clearly I can’t write one as dramatic as his, so I turned to the High Holiday prayer book for the prayer that we chant repeatedly during Yom Kippur:

Here is only one sin from the long list of sins for which we publicly and repeatedly ask forgiveness:

And for the sin which we have committed before Thee in speech

How many of us are guilty of this every single day? I’m sure I must be. No, I’m not talking about the intentionally mean things we say. I’m talking about the everyday things we say carelessly or impatiently – the “take out the trash” barked commands and the “can’t you ever remember to put the remote control away” peeved outbursts.

I often read the sayings on the teabags I buy which give the advice to appreciate each moment of life. And I do believe in viewing the glass half full rather than half empty. Yet how many of us consciously work to make the glass half full?

The Wall Street Journal today (October 8th) has a front-page story about how Iraq is still dangerous for U.S. military personnel even as the country is stabilizing. Do we who are safe at home in the U.S. appreciate that Americans are risking their lives every moment for our security?

On Rosh Hashanah, as my husband neared our synagogue, he passed a Marine major in full uniform. My husband said: “Thank you for your service, sir.” The Marine said: “You’re welcome. Shana tova.” [Good New Year]

In my husband’s case he used speech in a positive way – to express gratitude for the Marine’s service to our country.

If I can only improve greatly in one area this coming year, I’d like it to be in this area of speech: To reduce the amount of negative things I say and to increase the amount of positive things I say.

What about you? In what area would you most like to improve in the coming year?

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