My Alphabet of Failings: A New Ashamnu

October 5, 2016Jan Sokoloff Harness

Each year on Yom Kippur, I join my congregation is reciting the Ashamnu, an alphabetic acrostic of sins for which we repent. And each year, it occurs to me that most of the sins named in the Ashamnu don’t hit me in the heart I’m beating – and so, I wrote my own version of the prayer.


Ashamnu: My Alphabet of Failings

For the sin of anger against those who challenge me
And for the sin of belittling those I don’t understand
For the sin of criticizing without caring
And for the sin of doubting the strength of love
For the sin of enjoying what I shouldn’t have
And for the sin of purposefully finding fault
For the sin of greed when I have so much
And for the sin of harboring resentment
For the sin of needlessly imagining problems  
And for the sin of joking to avoid a truth

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

For the sin of kindness too often withheld
And for the sin of loving in measured touches
For the sin of malice toward those who are richer
And for the sin of nourishing my worst intentions
For the sin of observing when I could be helping
And for the sin of pretending I am less than I am
For the sin of quitting when I still have fight
And for the sin of not resting when I am exhausted
For the sin of saying it doesn’t matter
And for the sin of thinking they can read my mind.

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

For the sin of not cutting the umbilical cord
And for the sin of not visiting my parents enough
For the sin of not weeping, to prove my strength
And for the sin of never forgiving my ex
For the sin of yearning to alter time 
And for the sin of repenting at the zero hour.

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

Jan Sokoloff Harness is an active volunteer at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, KS. She is an award-winning writer, the Chief Creative Instigator for Sokoloff Harness Communications LLC and the author of the ebook Creative Chai.

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