As we are in the middle of the period between the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, I find that it is a unique time of reflecting on the rights and wrongs we have done, not just in our “normal” lives but in how we have and continue to react to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a time of reevaluation, taking stock, finding a place of gratitude for where we have been and where we are while also looking to figure out where we want to be.
On Yom Kippur, the liturgy includes a communal confession, with a series of lines in which we say, “On the sin which we sinned before you regarding…” Following in this same vein, Dr. Erica Brown offers a COVID-19 viddui (confessional prayer), which I found compelling and comforting. Let me just share a few of the lines and suggest reading the whole litany here.
For the sin of living at work instead of working from home.
For the sin of impatience with myself.
For the sin of impatience with those I love.
For the sin of impatience with those I do not love.
For the sin of judging those who are less fastidious than me about COVID as careless and those who are more fastidious as fanatics.
For the sin of not letting others be vulnerable.
For the sin of letting go of the structures that keep me whole.
For the sin of not being kind to myself.
For the sin of not being kind to others.
For the sin of having too rigid a schedule.
For the sin of having no schedule.
For the sin of calling this is the new normal when it’s really the new abnormal.
For the sin of thinking this will never end.