The Vertical Dimension

I’ve always wondered about the catalog of sins, some I’ve committed, some I’m pretty sure I haven’t, that I recite on Yom Kippur as well as the smaller version                      ….אָשַׁמְנוּ, בָּגַדְנוּ , גָּזַלְנוּ, which precedes תחנון, Tachanun (a portion of the daily prayer service immediately following the Amida) the rest of the year.

We usually explain this on the basis of כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה, Kol Yisrael Aravim Zeh l’Zeh, All Jews are responsible for each other.  We make these formal ודוים, Viduim, confessions, as a people and not as individuals, and since some of us have transgressed in ways that others haven’t, we collectively mention them all.

I have an additional thought to offer.  We are aware of only a tiny bandwidth of reality.  We are able to see our actions and their effects on the world in just a very few dimensions.  Nonetheless, we truly exist and effect reality in many planes.  While one of our actions might cause “visible” damage in say, the אָשַׁמְנוּ, Ashamnu “channel”, it simultaneously plays out in those dimensions now hidden from us along the parameters of בָּגַדְנוּ , גָּזַלְנוּ, Bagadnu, Gazalnu and so forth.

It’s important to take care of how our actions affect our world, but it’s arrogant as well as ultimately ignorant to think that what we can perceive is all there really is.  And we have no way of directly knowing the overall good or damage we do throughout the infinite universes.  Some things we need to take on faith.

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One Response to The Vertical Dimension

  1. Mr. Cohen says:

    One explanation of why our confession
    includes sins we certainly we did not commit:

    Robert ate only kosher foods his entire life.

    Simon is also Jewish, but sometimes eats non-kosher foods.

    One day, Robert slandered Simon.

    Our Rabbis teach that when Robert slanders Simon, some of Simon’s sins are transferred to Robert [the slanderer], and some of Robert’s good deeds are transferred to Simon [the victim].

    Now Robert must confess to sometimes eating non-kosher foods, because that sin was transferred to him, because of his slander.

    A second explanation:
    We do not know what sins we committed in our previous incarnations.

    A third explanation:
    All Jews are like one body.

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