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Mistakes were made: a High Holiday prayer


Hi – I mean, Shalom.

God, I know you don’t hear from me often. It’s just that it’s judgment time again, and with everyone talking your ear off, you might be hearing some things about me. I just wanted to talk, man to… You, to set the record straight, and be sure we’re on the same page, damnation-wise.

You know that I’ve never been one to attend services, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. In fact, I was really, mostly, pretty good this year, and I can approach the new year with a clean conscience. Almost completely clean. As clean as a normal person’s, basically.

OK, was I perfect? Or course not. Only You are perfect. But remember that I was created in Your image (which I really appreciate, by the way). So it’s not that everything I do is Your responsibility, but the way I see it, You decided to give me all of my flaws, so let’s review what Your providence made me do.

I didn’t always clean out plastic containers before I recycled them. In fact, a few times, the laziness and impatience You instilled in me overpowered me, and I threw them straight in the garbage!  I re-gifted a painting that I hated, and I lied to someone I met on Craigslist about the quality of a trumpet.

Do I regret my transgressions? Of course. But I know You’d agree that in the big picture, I’m doing more good than bad. We both know that everybody pirates the occasional movie, or shoplifts the occasional candy bar. Everyone cheats in online Scrabble, or their taxes, or their marriage. I’m not special.

I didn’t give as much to charity as I wanted to, but these taxes, Lord! You should punish the government, the way they take and take, and I have a family, plus the gambling problem You gave me, and child support that I really meant to pay.

I know that my company was accused of some less-than-ethical behaviour this year, but in a tough economy, you need an advantage to stay ahead. And the only advantage that You saw fit to offer me involved massive fraud and tearing down that orphanage. Who was I to question Your plan? 

As for the so-called “Ponzi schemes,” I wanted to talk to You about that. I think it’s a terrible what happened to everyone who invested, HaShem, from the bottom of my heart I do. But if they had read those contracts carefully, none of them would have signed in the first place! I didn’t make it legal for senior citizens to trust me, and I won’t apologize for financial innovation.

Were mistakes made? Absolutely. But I can’t be held responsible for the actions of a whole company! No matter who made those mistakes, I’m glad they happened, because I’ve already learned so much from them, and moved on. Wasn’t it Moses who said that it takes a big man to admit that someone else was wrong?

I guess what I’m saying is that the past is in the past. And while some might presume to judge me for my past, Your mercy is infinite, and Your gaze is toward the future. In Your divine wisdom, You know that you can’t steal an unattended wheelchair, because if your wheelchair is unattended, then you don’t really need it, do you? And You don’t care if I punched a Walmart greeter, or raised the price of EpiPens, or tried to give those hospitals Zika. That’s why you’ve let me get away with it all!

Oh, but I’m really sorry for taking that phone call in the movie theatre. That was totally inconsiderate. I tried whispering, but I was way too loud, plus the light from my phone really distracted people. I swear I’ll never do it again.


Follow A. David Levine on twitter at @adavidlevine

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