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In the Jewish prayer service, our confessional is plural. Partly we are admitting that all sin is a function of community, environment, as well as individual choice. In other words, when another sins we are rarely guiltless. We are part of a system, a family, or perhaps an indifference, that permitted that sin to happen.

But perhaps another purpose of the plural confession is to admit, as Goethe wrote, “I never heard a crime of which I felt myself incapable.”

If we are among other sinners, then while we need not imagine ourselves to have done horrible things, we can know that we are not immune from the plea for forgiveness.

Whether your confession comes in prayers, pronouncements or professional guidance, how has confession helped you?

–David Wolpe

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