A Blogger’s “Al Chet”


(The Al Chet prayer is a litany of offenses read during the Yom Kippur services. It has become common for people to customize the prayer to express their own sins and repentance. This is mine.)

Through writing I have committed many a wrong, but unlike those whose faces I see, I will likely never know the vast majority of people who I wronged via this blog. God cannot forgive these sins, only those whom I have wronged. If I can commit sin through the web, then surely I can also repent through it.

For the wrongs against others through hardness of heart, by not posting stories I didn’t like
without knowledge, of those who I knew personally and those I did not
with the utterances of my lips, and my fingertips
in public, where thousands of people read
through harsh speech, against those who simply disagreed with me
by deceit, for willfully withholding or ignoring information to press a point
through wronging a neighbor, by picking fights with others, their blogs, or their organizations
through insincere confession, by writing something not because it is important, but to get acclaim
willfully and carelessly, by writing sloppily and poorly without caring
by showing contempt for teachers and forebears, and not respecting those who came before me
by misusing (the) power of wide readership
through foolish speech and impure lips, by condemning things I have also done
against those who know and those who don’t even have internet.

For the wrongs I have committed against others through denial and false promise, by saying I would post things when I didn’t, or posting things when I said I wouldn’t
through evil talk, by slandering individuals and painting whole peoples with one brush
through scorning, and hypocritically treating others how I hate to be treated
in commercial dealings, by not declaring conflicts of interest, and by biting the advertisers that support us
through haughtiness, by meeting people not to befriend them, but to use their story for a post
with prying eyes, and nosy intentions, by using but not attributing others’ material
with idle chatter, by exaggerating stories or trumping charges
and with brazenness, treating myself and us as more important than I and we are.

For wrongs I have committed against others by being judgmental, evaluating every event, conversation, experience and person as bloggable or not bloggable
entrapping a neighbor, by writing posts just to agitate them
by holding a begrudging eye, and criticizing the form and not the content of someone’s comment
with obstinacy, by refusing to acknowledge when I’m wrong, by not posting corrections, or correcting posts only under duress
by rushing to do harm, and eagerly posting news damaging to individuals or groups
by gossip-mongering, and not fact checking
by vain oath-taking, by speaking for our blog and others without their permission
through baseless hatred, condemning people instead of their ideas
by not extending a hand to causes that needed press but I didn’t care enough
through confusing the purpose of this blog and my ambitions for myself.

For all these sins and more, forgive me, pardon me, accept my atonement. I am sorry, in the waning hours of this season, for all the feelings I have hurt online.

And for all those who hurt me through the words they wrote, or failed to write, on blogs and Twitter and Facebook and others, I do not hold a grudge. I forgive you and release you, so that we can all begin a new year fresh and clean and whole and living.

G’mar chatima tova, may you be inscribed for goodness.

Adapted from this version of the Al Chet.