It is a commendable practice of our brothers and sisters and the entire people of Israel to ask for the forgiveness of friends and acquaintances on of the eve of Yom Kippur.
Some may wonder if this 'wholesale' repenting is an honest and profound one, but I do not.
Sins against one's fellow man, we were taught by our elders, cannot be atoned for on Yom Kippur. We must therefore be vigilant and avoid such transgressions. We must also ask those we have sinned against for forgiveness.
But what of sins committed by man against God? Will they be atoned on this holy day?
Will we seek to repent for the sins that no man will ever know we have committed? And our sins against the nation? Have we done enough to preserve the thread of Jewish generations? Have we fulfilled the purpose for which God has given us life? Have we done all that we can do, to make this world a better place? Our nation more united? Ourselves better and more deserving?
No one will ever know the decisions we have made out of weakness, those moments of frailty in which we chose not to act or not to strive for good.
It is easy to lay blame on others – on politicians, religious leaders or circumstances. But in our hearts, we know that we must not accuse others. These are the sins we have sinned against our maker who expects from us year in and year out, to be true to ourselves and to the purpose for which we have been blessed with all that we have been given in the world by its creator.
We alone will know. That is our own introspection. And that is our repentance before God. Have we fulfilled our destiny?
For our sins against God the gates of heaven are open. Maimonides provides atonement for all sins accompanied by repentance. We must all look inside our souls and discard our sins, remove them from our thoughts and accept that with God's help, we will have a blessed year where we connect to our corps, our legacy and our purpose in this world.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch is the Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel