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Ask A Jew: List of Transgressions

Ask A Jew: List of Transgressions

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By Hyphen Parent

What is the list of transgressions?

During Yom Kippur, we repeat Ashmanu and Al-Chet prayers, wherein we confess to a list of transgressions. The entire text is recited by the entire congregation repeatedly, out loud, and all together. There are several reasons listed for the communal recitation; one is that all Jews are responsible for each other, and another is to not embarrass an individual. Traditionally, we strike our chests as we recite each sin; I’ve written a bit about that in the past.

The following is the translations of sins listed in Ashmanu, the shorter opening section of the traditional Ashkenazi Viddui:

We have trespassed [against G-d and man, and we are devastated by our guilt];

We have betrayed [G-d and man, we have been ungrateful for the good done to us];

We have stolen; We have slandered.

We have caused others to sin;

We have caused others to commit sins;

We have sinned with malicious intent;

We have forcibly taken others’ possessions even though we paid for them;

We have added falsehood upon falsehood; We have joined with evil individuals or groups;

We have given harmful advice;

We have deceived; we have mocked;

We have rebelled against G-d and His Torah;

We have caused G-d to be angry with us;

We have turned away from G-d’s Torah;

We have sinned deliberately;

We have been negligent in our performance of the commandments;

We have caused our friends grief;

We have been stiff-necked, refusing to admit that our suffering is caused by our own sins.

We have committed sins for which we are called violent.

We have committed sins which are the result of moral corruption;

We have committed sins which the Torah refers to as abominations;

We have gone astray;

We have led others astray.

Al Chet is the longer confession; these are the transgressions as listed. (Trangessions listed from the Rabbinic Assembly’s “Mahzor Kol Nidre” copyright 2010):

We have sinned against You unwillingly and willingly, and we have sinned against You through hardening our hearts. We have sinned against You thoughtlessly

and we have sinned against You in idle chatter.

We have sinned against You through sexual immorality, and we have sinned against You openly and in private. We have sinned against You knowingly and deceitfully,

and we have sinned against You by the way we talk. We have sinned against You by defrauding others, and we have sinned against You in our innermost thoughts. We have sinned against You through forbidden trysts,

and we have sinned against You through empty confession. We have sinned against You by scorning parents and teachers, and we have sinned against You purposely and by mistake.

We have sinned against You by resorting to violence, and we have sinned against You by public desecration of Your name. We have sinned against You through foul speech,

and we have sinned against You through foolish talk. We have sinned against You through pursuing the impulse to evil, and we have sinned against You wittingly and unwittingly.

We have sinned against You through denial and deceit, and we have sinned against You by taking bribes. We have sinned against You by clever cynicism,

and we have sinned against You by speaking ill of others.

We have sinned against You by the way we do business, and we have sinned against You in our eating and drinking. We have sinned against You by greed and oppressive interest,

and we have sinned against You through arrogance. We have sinned against You in everyday conversation, and we have sinned against You through conspiratorial glances.

We have sinned against You through condescension, and we have sinned against You through stubbornness.

We have sinned against You by throwing off all restraint, and we have sinned against You by rashly judging others.

We have sinned against You by plotting against others, and we have sinned against You through selfishness.

We have sinned against You through superficiality, and we have sinned against You through stubbornness.

We have sinned against You by rushing to do evil, and we have sinned against You through gossip.

We have sinned against You through empty promises, and we have sinned against You through baseless hatred.

We have sinned against You by betraying trust, and we have sinned against You by succumbing to confusion.

For all these sins, forgiving G-d, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement. And forgive us the breach of all commandments and prohibitions, whether involving deeds or not, whether known to us or not…

About Hyphen Parent

Dorothy-Ann Parent (better known as Hyphen) is a writer, a traditional Jew, a seeker of justice, a lover of stories, the self-proclaimed Jewish Molly Weasley, hobbit-sized, and best not left unattended in a bookshop or animal shelter.

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