Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Rabbanit Yemima said something in last week’s class that was obvious but yet had never even occurred to me.

She pointed out that “Slichot” is a very strange name for the prayers we recite in these weeks leading up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
It’s strange because the word “Slicha,” means “Sorry” or “Forgive me.”
But “Slichot,” is, bizarrely, the plural of sorry.
We are literally reciting, “Sorries.”
Imagine somebody stepped on your toe and said, “Sorry!”
You would probably say, “That’s OK.”
But what if they stepped on your toe again and said “Sorry!” and again and said “Sorry!” and again…
By the second or third stomp, I’m pretty sure you would no longer be responding, “That’s OK.”
But the sign of Elul is Virgo, a virgin. An unfaithful wife could feel terribly about her infidelity, but nothing will ever take away the fact that she betrayed her husband with another man. Elul has the power to wash away our misdeeds, as though they never existed. Transforming the adulterous wife into a virgin once more.
This month we say: I tried to do better 2 years ago, and failed. Sorry!
I tried to do better 1 year ago, and failed. Sorry!
And this year, again, I tried to do better, and failed. Sorry!
But in this month of mercy Hashem, with us in the field, says, “That’s OK. I hear all your slichot, and accept them with love.”


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