Doing this inventory this year has pointed out to me the subtleties of our age. The Rabbis of old were very wise when they made the Ashamnu Prayer. The first word, Ashamnu, means guilty. The entire prayer is called a Confessional. The second word, Bagadnu, I have translated as betrayal, it also means stolen. Both of these words have the same essence. In order to steal, I have to betray and in order to betray, I have stolen.
Yet, in our age of “not taking responsibility, we can acknowledge the feelings another person has of our betrayal while not confessing to our betrayal. I have confessed to my earlier betrayals in my book, The Holy Thief. I also have and do confess to my betraying the trust others put in me when I “slack” off. When I am not present, I betray the trust another has put in me. I am not perfect and I am guilty of this. When I misappropriate trust, time and energy, I betray others, myself and God. I have been and am still guilty of this.
The reason I bring this up is because in today’s world, people and corporations are unwilling to admit guilt, betrayals, and misappropriations. We see this in our political arena, in the meltdown of 2008 and in personal dealings with others. We will pay the fines, we will acknowledge the feelings of others and yet we are reticent and unwilling to admit guilt. This is still a denial of truth and robs others of their reality and dignity!
Today’s questions for our four column inventory speak to this:
1) How have I used speech to confuse truth?
2) Whom have I harmed?
3) How have they been harmed?
4) What is my TShuvah and plan to stop doing this?
1) How have I used speech to reveal truth?
2) Whom have I helped?
3) How have they been helped?
4) How do I enhance this behavior in my daily life in the coming year?
Another great exercise for each day is:
What are the lies I tell myself so I feel okay when I miss the mark?