“There I stood again, the same pose, the same words, the same sense of remorse.
It was also the same sin I claimed against myself last year on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement),
and the year before that, and each year back as far as I can recall.
It’s getting to the point where I feel silly asking for forgiveness,
knowing full well that next Yom Kippur I’ll probably experience another deja vu.
When will I ever change?”
For many people, these words hit home, and some of the tears shed on Yom Kippur,
and at other times of the year, are tears of frustration.
“How could I make the same mistake again when I promised myself I wouldn’t?”
The answer to this question is not as simple as it may appear to be, especially
when considering the Talmud’s explanation for sin:
No person sins unless a spirit of insanity enters them. (Sotah 3a)
Who in their right mind would want to do the wrong thing,
asks the Talmud, and answers, no one.
However, if this is the case, then why are we responsible for our sins,
even for the accidental ones (insanity is usually a reason for a person not to be responsible for his or her actions)?
What does the Talmud mean by its statement, and how does it apply to daily life?
The answer to this question, it will turn out,
leads not only to an understanding of the nature of sin,
but to a profound understanding of mankind in general,
and the unique and wonderful purpose for which we were created.