Elevating Sin

Acknowledging sins allows for individual purification.

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This, then, was the prayer, the command of the High Priest: "Before God, be you cleansed!" It was as if he had declared; Be not satisfied with "He who overlooks sin." Cast your eyes upward towards "He who bears sin and iniquity." It is true that the goal of the sacrificial ritual is to achieve acquittal, to blot out evil and obliterate it. Nevertheless, the goal of the whole service of the Day of Atonement is purification, which is why the High Priest does not say, meekly, "And this is my acquittal" as does the individual in making confession upon his sacrifice. Instead the High Priest demands, loudly and clearly: "0 Grant us acquittal!"

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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was one of the most important Orthodox thinkers of the 20th century. He delivered an annual lecture on repentance that was a highly anticipated event for Modern Orthodox Jews in America.