We already petitioned G‑d on Rosh Hashanah. Why are we going through the whole exercise all over again on Yom Kippur? Doesn’t G‑d get a little annoyed at the repeat performance? Isn’t this something like the little nudnik kid who keeps asking and asking?


A child does something to anger his parents. He knows they are disappointed with him. They look kind of upset too.

Now he has two different strategies to go about asking for forgiveness:

The first is to clarify what went wrong, how it occurred, and why it won’t happen again. The child might explain that he didn’t realize just how bad it was. He could try minimizing the severity of his actions by blaming it on peer pressure and bad teachers driving him nuts. He might simply admit that he did something stupid and wrong.

But there’s a second way. It comes without explanations.

It comes in the form of a strong gaze to his parents . . . a cry . . . perhaps a hug. No words are communicated, but the tears say it all. No matter what occurred, he’s their son and they’re his parents. He loves them. And they love him.

If you take a look at the prayers on the High Holidays, you’ll notice a difference between the forgiveness of Rosh Hashanah and that of Yom Kippur. On Yom Kippur, there are detailed confessions. We recite a list of generic sins ten times. Each prayer is filled with more and more petitions.

But on Rosh Hashanah, this doesn’t happen. The details of our sins aren’t even mentioned.

Rather, we declared that G‑d is our Father and King. We expressed how much we love Him. We blew the shofar.

Both steps are needed. First must come the renewal of the relationship, the expression of love that transcends the particulars. Only then—within that context of innate love and bonding—is each issue confronted, as our sins, one by one, get wiped away.