August 26, 2020

What Makes an Authentic Confession with Alden Solovy

Posted by Custom & Craft

Authentic Confessions: Selichot that Matter – A confession is, essentially, a story we tell about ourselves. What do our confessions say about our stories? Join Reform Liturgist Alden Solovy in preparing for the High Holy Days by diving into the unique language of the two traditional confessionals: the alphabetic acrostic (Ashamnu) and the longer “For the Sin” (Al Chet). By contrasting them with modern selichot, we’ll ask: What is an authentic confession? What are the stories we're telling? What are the confessions that matter?

Notes from Our Webinar Chat

What are Our Confessions? 

  • Talking to ourselves and to God, other people

  • Being open and honest for the purpose of awareness and self-improvement, hoping God is listening, shining a divine light that might crack open the door to my heart just a bit more

  • Self-reflection 

  • Doing the work, not reciting the deed. Doing the work means working to be my most authentic self and contributing to the world. That is thanks to Gd for my life.

  • Talking to the universe as a mirror, in which my best qualities are at one with God

  • Confession, to me, is an acknowledgement of what is. I used to think that it was just between me and God, that I could have the quiet conversation and make teshuvah quietly, internally. This time has made me realise that it’s important to do this with those who will hold me accountable/support me in my return. All that is transformed here is refracted in all the worlds.

  • Words matter for my own clarification, they’re both a roadmap and a jumping off point.


What is the Purpose of Confession? 

  • If the purpose of this time is to return, to re-align, to fine at-one-ment, it stands to reason that balance is important. We can do this by acknowledging where we missed the mark and also where we’re right on!

  • Self-criticism means applying criteria and noting what is below the norm and what is according to and above the norm.

  • To come home to our truest soul-selves we need both: it’s the thing and the sequence that I think is the important piece in this discussion of “competing confessions”


What is the Choreography Behind Our Confessions? 

  • Tapping our hearts in the rhythm of our heart beats, as a "love tap" vs berating ourselves

  • This feels calm and tender. We sometimes tap or beat gentle, as a way to open our hearts. By doing this, we can open ourselves to more awareness of where we’ve missed the mark.

  • I use a heart message as it is a time to comfort ourselves as well in our teshuvah

  • Some of us have switched to a positive heart connection like little squeezy massage

  • Breaking the hardness in our hearts through beating, tapping or massaging,  loosening the gunk around the heart, like how pounding on the back feels good when you have a bad chest cold because it knocks loose the lung mucus

  • Knocking on the door of the heart/soul - hitor’ri hitor’ri!

  • Kol Dodi Dofek / The Voice of My Beloved Knocks