Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Accepting the Blame

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

God asked, "Who told you that you are naked? Did you eat from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?" Adam replied, "The woman that you gave to be with me - she gave me what I ate from the tree." (Bereshith 3:11, 12)

Instead of trying to cover up his guilt, Adam should have tried to repent by admitting his misdeed. Such behavior is exemplified by King Dovid, who, when chastised by the prophet Nathan, immediately acknowledged his transgression.1 The ability to be honest enough with oneself to admit that one did something wrong and that one is to be held responsible for it is a prerequisite for repentance. If we blame anyone or anything else, or even worse, if we deny responsibility altogether, then we have little hope of ever coming to true repentance. Therefore, when praying for repentance, before mentioning any sins, there is a disclaimer, "We are not brazen enough to say that we are righteous and haven't sinned, rather in truth we really have sinned." These words, "in truth we have sinned," are considered the essential part of this prayer.2

A person once told the Rambam that he had not committed any of the misdeeds listed in the above prayer. Consequently, he asked him if he was required to recite this prayer on Yom Kippur or not. The Rambam replied that if he understood the severity of Divine judgment, he would recognize that he actually had committed them.3

This idea applies even after one has confessed his misdeeds. When Adam finally confessed his misdeed, he said "I ate from the tree, and I will eat from it again."4 How could Adam speak to God in such an audacious manner? As long as a person is unable to acknowledge that his defenses must have been weakened in order for him to commit a transgression, he will never be able to repent properly. It is only after he recognizes that in the current situation he is capable of succumbing again that he will be able to strengthen himself to overcome future obstacles. Adam was merely stating that since nothing in the situation had changed, he was in danger of repeating his previous transgression.5

1. Seforno on Bereshith 3:12.

2. Rambam Mishneh Torah - Laws of Repentance 2:8.

3. Chida-Midaber Kadmuth 6:11.

4. Bereshith Rabbah 19:92.

5. Ohel Torah of the Kotzker Rebbe on Bereshith 3:11, 12.

Priceless Integrity, Copyright © 2001 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and

Subscribe to Priceless Integrity and receive the class via e-mail.



View Complete List

The Garden of Eden
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5775

Picking Up the Pieces
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Division is not Good
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Which Came First?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

The Nature of Human Behavior
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

The Nature of Human Behavior
- 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Uniqueness of Man
Shlomo Katz - 5766

The Book of Mankind
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

Work Around
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5776


Human Separation and Value
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Fonzie & the Happy Days of Rest
Jon Erlbaum - 0

The Delayed "Ki Tov"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

> A Final Solution
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

The Anthropologicalization of Adam
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Deja Vu All Over Again . . . Then Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5775

The Secrets of Creation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information