Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hakarat haChet and the Jewish version of the ‘original’ sin.

Today is the 7th day of Elul, 5770

The first step in the process of Teshuba, repentance, is hakarat haChet-- taking responsibility for our mistakes and misdeeds.

It is not an easy task. it has never been…

Everyone knows that God punished Adam and Eve and expulsed them from Paradise. But why?

If you put on a table all kind of candies, sweets, and cakes in front of child and in the middle of the table you put a tomato, a normal child is not going to eat or want the tomato... But what if you tell the child: ‘You can eat whatever you want except for the tomato’. It will be only a matter of time until the child disobeys and eats the tomato, since the “forbidden fruit” syndrome triggers curiosity and desire. According to Rabbi Yosef Albo, Adam and Eve’s sin was not that they ate the fruit. God knew they will succumb! He wanted to teach them to take responsibility and repent for their wrong actions!!

Adam’s real sin happened when God approached him and asked him: ‘What did you do?’ instead of admitting his fault, Adam ‘transferred’ the blame to Eve: haisha shenatata imadi… ‘the woman You put next to me, she offered me the fruit’. Then, God approached Eve and she said: ‘It wasn’t me! The serpent made me do it'.

‘Displacing blame’ is probably the main obstacle for repentance, or at least the oldest one.