Reminder: We are gathering on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (Monday September 17th) for a Kabbalah Experience prayer, meditation and learning service from 10-1. Please RSVP or with questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (we will also be gathering for Kol Nidrei—6:30 pm on Tuesday September 25 and the morning of Yom Kippur Wednesday September 26 from 10-1). Services will be held in Lowry.
This month of Elul we have looked at a process of repentance that follows the order of:
Seeking out forgiveness
Confession, it would appear should not be the final stage—it would seem that one needs to confess first—it being a part of acknowledgement, remorse and when possible seeking out forgiveness with the one you have hurt. What is confession as the ultimate and final act of the atonement process?
Jewish sources reveal that confession at the end of the atonement process is the act of confessing before God? What is the need to confess before God?
Rabbi Soloveitchik explains that, “Confession compels man—in a state of terrible torment to admit facts as they really are, to give clear expression to the truth.”
The question that Rabbi Soloveitchik wants us to grapple with is why is confession (verbalizing or writing) so vital to the atonement process? Is it not enough to feel repentant—to feel the weight of remorse crushing down upon us?
It is obvious that there are acts we have done that no one is privy to and acts that we might feel only have an effect on us. We could well argue–no harm is registered. “Before God” then means—I must admit to the facts as they really—whether no one else would ever know—but I do know. Confession before God is a confession of self to self—for our greatest remorse is who we have not fulfilled being this past year. It is precisely those silent matters (between us and God) that need to be verbalized. It is not God who needs words or letters of confession—it is us.