The first sin was not listening to directions. Later, we sinned by following orders.
We shouted to feel in control of others. We kept silence to feel in control of ourselves.
We naively believed what was spoken. We cunningly humiliated our elders.
We felt the river at its strongest depths. We compartmentalized our feelings.
We did not understand what was needed. We did not say what needed to be heard.
We did not ask for help when it was still possible. Then we asked for help when it was too late.
We adored in ignorance. We were clever in resentment.
We were patient when action was needed. We were strong when kindness was needed.
We placed faith where it was not due. We gratuitously lied that we had faith so that we could pray.
We neglected our bodies. We allowed fear to govern our thoughts.
We gave up too much of ourselves. We did not give enough of what we had.
We allowed pain to eat us. We allowed others to be eaten by pain.
We were slow to forgive. We were quick to jump back in the saddle.
We sinned with our feet, hands, and tongues. We sinned with money.
We overachieved very small goals. We fell short because we could not save what we loved.
We sinned in trying to do it the right way. We sinned in trying to do what was right.
We broke what had been built gradually. We could not find a speed at which to rebuild.
We were greedy for time. We forgot to be grateful for time.
Next year we will make do with what is given. Next year we will see a new world to be created.
The papercut art incorporates the words of the Vidui, a Yom Kippur prayer of confession. For an explanation of the prayer, see the teaching of R' Avraham Danzig of Vilna.