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The Joy of Sin?

The Joy of Sin?



I find Yom Kippur depressing. Why spend a day focusing on our sins and failures? Do we need to be reminded how far we are from being perfect?


Yom Kippur is a celebration of being human. And being human means being imperfect.

Human failure is so predictable, G‑d has placed on the calendar an annual day of forgiveness. It is not an optional holiday only for those who happen to have sinned. Yom Kippur comes every single year for every single person. It is as if we are expected to sin, that there will always be mess-ups that we have to make amends for. G‑d is so not surprised by our failings that He allows a clean-up day every year. We were never meant to be perfect.

Every Yom Kippur we receive a note from G‑d saying something like this:

I know you are human. Humans are not perfect. I made you that way. And I love you anyway. In fact, that's why I love you - because you are not perfect. I already had perfection before I created you. What I want from creation is an imperfect world that strives to improve, filled with human beings that fail, get up and move ahead. By being imperfect but persevering nevertheless, you have fulfilled the purpose of your creation. You have achieved the one thing that I can't do without you - you have brought the perfect G‑d into an imperfect world.


With Love, G‑d

For all of us who are not perfect, Yom Kippur is our day. Rather than be depressed by failings, we celebrate them. Every sin, every slip up, every failed attempt at living up to our calling is another opportunity to grow and improve. Failing at our mission is itself a part of the mission.

Yom Kippur is the day G‑d thanks us for being human, and we thank G‑d that we aren't perfect. If we were, we'd have nothing to do.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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Anonymous December 22, 2016

I'm crying when read this our Elohim is full of kindness and grace.
Toda. Reply

Anonymous October 3, 2014

Also after we realize that we are imperfect and we sinned, we can move forward and try to become better people. Reply

Ross Scalise London, UK September 21, 2010

To Gerson – Imperfection Thanks for your response Gerson (forgive my rudeness in the way I have addressed you).

I thought imperfection was:
1. A fault, blemish, or undesirable feature.
2. The state of being faulty or incomplete.

Were we not created with free will as the angels are and also the adversary? The ability to choose right and wrong? Reply

Gerson September 19, 2010

To Ross We refuse to listen to Him, because he created us with the ability/propensity to do so. That is called imperfection. Reply

Anonymous san francisco, ca September 17, 2010

We should all remember that we are not praying for our own individual sins as much as we are praying for the wrongdoings of the society we live in. "Teshuvah" is not repentance as much as it means: turning. so, we are trying to turn all together, each individually to work toward a better a society and do our individual part to correct the imbalances of the world. it can actually be a very, very uplifting day if one follows the proscribed emotional and spiritual journey. Reply

Ross Scalise London, UK September 17, 2010

Imperfection I have a question relating to the comments of Rabbi Moss,

I thought G-D did make us perfect but we refused to listen to Him? In the beginning and still now? Reply

Meyer Stahl Las CrucesNM, USA September 16, 2010

overcoming Yom Kippur to me represents an opportunity to be a better person, to sin less each year, to overcome sin in my life.Don't we feel better when we are able to say NO to sin? We need to be overcomers. Never be satisfied with status quo. We need to take a lesson from the first two people in the bible. They both sinned and Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. Suppose they both repented and were forgiven, they might have been given a second chance. I would hope so. Reply

Judy Resnick Far Rockaway, NY September 22, 2009

Perfect Angels There are zillions of heavenly beings, known as angels, who are perfect. They never sin, they always do what they are commanded, they continuously praise G-d. But they are, so to speak, boring! G-d so to speak gets far more joy from us imperfect beings. We choose to serve G-d out of our own free will. We choose to praise G-d and follow the Torah and to turn away from old sins and go on the right path. We are enthusiastic volunteers, not robots, in carrying out our Divine mission, and of course we're going to make lots of mistakes along the way. G-d knows that and still loves us. Otherwise, with all of those zillions of perfect angels, why create us funny and flawed humans in the first place? Reply

miri October 1, 2006

The Rebbe said that when Mashiach comes, both good and evil will rejoice that they have accomplished their missions, (the evil rejoices that it was rejected).
I don't think it means we should glorify sin, or that we're "expected to sin".
We should aim to be perfect, to be G-d-like, and in the event that we unfortunately fail, we should feel sorry but not depressed and move forward.

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