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What Does Archery Have to do with Yom Kippur?

Posted by Anna Burnsten Gilette on 9/25/2020
On Yom Kippur, we say we atone for our sins. The Hebrew word chet is often translated to English as sin. A more accurate translation, however, would be “to miss the mark.” 

Imagine yourself aiming an arrow at a target; you aim for the bullseye but sometimes you miss. Your intention to be a good person is the same. 

The famous writer and children’s rights activist Janusz Korczak wrote “you will go on blundering, for only he who does nothing avoids errors.” We must continue to practice (aim) at being good even though we will certainly fall short at times. The only other option we have is to not shoot our arrow at all. What would the world look like then? 

Janusz Korczak is an example of a practiced archer. He became a doctor to help poor children. He wrote stories to entertain his young patients and teach them about the world around them. He devoted his entire life to protecting and caring for orphans. Learn more about what inspired him in Janusz Korczak’s Children. 

How many times this year have you shot your arrow and hit the bullseye? How many times have you missed? The point is to keep practicing. The mitzvah is in the practice.
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