Bullseye – Abstract Painting 5″ x 5″
Every fall I help my synagogue lead services for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
These two holidays together are known as the High Holy Days, the holiest days on the Jewish calendar. The themes are similar in many ways to the civil New Year: starting afresh, new chances.
But the High Holy Days are also drenched in a strong undercurrent of forgiveness and repenting — or returning, which is what the Hebrew word that is translated as repenting actually means.
Returning to self. Returning to God. Returning to a true path.
There’s another central word in the High Holy Days canon that also has a different definition than the one usually assigned to it in English: cheit, which is usually translated as “sin.”
Such a heavy word, sin! But cheit is actually an archery term, not a moral term. It means “to miss,” as in to miss the target.
How liberating it is to think of our so-called sins in this way! We’re not bad people, we’re just human. Sometimes we miss.
And as any skilled archer knows, the way to hit the bullseye is to pick up your bow and try again.
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