Revelation, Torah, the life based upon it, constitutes morality, virtue, goodness.

What constitutes sin?

On the simple level, sin means breaking the law, violating the Torah by acts of omission or commission. Our duties are spelled out clearly. The law is defined. To ignore the letter or the spirit of the law, let alone to contravene it, that is sin.

On a deeper level, the meaning of sin is indicated in its Hebrew terminology. The general term for it is aveirah. It is of the root avar - to pass or cross over, to pass beyond. Aveirah means a trespass, a transgression, a stepping across the limits and boundaries of propriety to the "other side."

More specific words are chet, aavon, pesha.

Chet is of a root meaning to miss, to bear a loss.

Aavon is of a root meaning to bend, twist, pervert.

Pesha is of a root meaning to rebel.

Technically, legalistically, chet refers to inadvertent sins; aavon to conscious misdeeds; and pesha to malicious acts of rebellion.

Sin, thus, is a move away from Divinity, away from truth.

"Your sins separate you from your G‑d" who is truly "your life." It separates us from Torah, our lifeline, that which attaches us to the source of our life and all blessings.

To neglect the commandments is to deprive ourselves of the illumination and vitality which their observance draws upon us, to forfeit an opportunity, to render ourselves deficient: chata'im, at a loss. To violate the prohibitions is to defile the body, to blemish the soul, to cause evil to become attached.

Sin offers man temporary gains, but it is altogether irrational, self-defeating. Attractive and sweet at the outset, but bitter in the end. Thus, "The Holy One, blessed be He, and the Torah are astounded: How is it possible that a person will sin?!"

Thus our Sages teach "No person will commit a sin unless a spirit of folly has entered into him." Sin is an act of ignorance or foolishness. Invariably it can be traced to lack of knowledge, to negligence or carelessness. If premeditated, let alone an act of willful rebellion, it is outright stupidity. Either way, it is rooted in heedlessness, in shortsightedness, in failure to think. It follows upon a blinding obsession with the here and now, egocentricity, self- righteousness.