Al Cheit / על חטא: We Have Missed the Mark

Please share where you veered off course this year.
We will select some of these anonymous confessions to read during Yom Kippur.

The Hebrew word cheit / חטא, is typically translated as “sin” but, more precisely, it means “to miss the mark.” While our intent is to aim true, we can easily — either incrementally or instantaneously — veer off course. With practice and attention, we can improve our aim. Yom Kippur invites us to assess ourselves. Have we hit the mark or missed it? By taking an inventory of our souls we seek to discover ways to improve, sharpen, and correct our aim in the future.

Our custom at Chochmat HaLev is to invite and include community voices in our final “על חטא / Al Cheit” — the Yom Kippur liturgy that lists the ways in which we have collectively “missed the mark” in the past year. During services, we select and read anonymously from these moving confessions to represent the range of missteps which we, as a community, have made. By hearing each other’s regrets, we collectively shoulder the weight of these transgressions. Communal support gives us strength as we move into the new year—freed from our past mistakes and with renewed positive vision for ourselves and the world.

We hope this is a meaningful process for you — please bring your completed cards or fill them out at services. Thank you, and Shanah Tovah (a good new year)!

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