Looking at cell phones. by the Forward

The Internet Sins We’ll Atone For This Yom Kippur

On Yom Kippur, we confess an alphabet of annual sins: Bribe-taking! Bribe-giving! Foolish speech! Lewdness! Lying! Scoffing!

It’s a list that has almost completely withstood the test of time. Most people would do well to apologize for blurting things out, passing judgment and “deceiving a fellowman.” And, more darkly, some people should seriously consider repentance for coercion, extortion, and “running to do evil.”

But entire new genres of sin have emerged since the High Holiday mahzor, or prayerbook, was codified. The Internet, and the many devices we use to explore it, open us up to scads more sins than our ancestors had available. Sinning has never been so seamless.

Related article: Yom Kippur: What You Need To Know

For sins we sinned when the blue light compelled us, we prescribe these Al Cheits, inspired by the prayer we repeat throughout Yom Kippur. Say these quickly and then, for god’s sake, take a walk or something. Amen:

For the sin that I have committed against you by looking at my phone while walking slowly up a public set of stairs.

For the sin that I have committed against you for texting, “Sorry, I JUST saw this!” when, I mean — come on.

For the sin that I committed by reply-ing all.

For the sin that I have committed against you by clicking on a tweet someone else retweeted before liking the tweet, because I didn’t want them to know that I ever think about them, because that would be awkward for some reason.

For the sin that I have committed against you by not knowing what TikTok is.

For the sin that I have committed against you by finding out what TikTok is and then thinking “Teens today are pathetic!” and then watching TikToks for four hours.

For the sin that I have committed against you by checking what the weather is right now on the weather app even though I am standing outside.

For the sin that I have committed against you by sending people articles I didn’t even read with the caption “LOVE this.”

For the sin I have committed against you by subtweeting people, even though CERTAIN people who have the WRONG views about Israel deserve it.

For the sin that I have committed against you by trying to google something like ‘the history of hard seltzer’ while on a moving subway and then being like “It’s UNCONSCIONABLE that there’s no service for 30 seconds on this moving underground tube.”

For the sin that I committed against you by only tipping on those iPads at coffee shops when I can see the barista is watching me.

For the sin that I committed against you by interrupting another person, saying, “I need to stay on top of important emails,” and then all my emails are all just Beto O’Rourke’s campaign asking for money.

For the sin that I have committed against you by using Venmo histories to find out which of my friends are hanging out without me.

FOR THE SIN THAT I HAVE COMMITTED AGAINST YOU BY OVER-USING CAPS LOCK.

For the sin that I have committed against you by using incognito pages to read articles after I hit the paywall, instead of just paying for journalism.(We see you!)

For the sin that I have committed against you by sending serious emails from the toilet.

For the sin that I have committed against you by searing my eyeballs by staring directly at a screen for forty minutes starting the second I wake up but being like “There’ll probably be surgery to fix this damage in a few years.”

For the sin that I have committed against you by bumping into someone because I was looking at my phone while walking, and then saying ‘Sorry’ without looking up from my phone. Sorry!

For the sin that I committed against you by reaching my hand into my pocket and clasping my phone just to feel SOMETHING.

For the sin that I have committed against you by bragging, “Deleting Twitter off my phone!” and then just looking at Twitter on Safari.

For the sin that I have committed against you by allowing overexposure to screens to dull my senses, the sin I have committed by not interfering as the world begins to seem less colorful and less relevant, the sin of being less present in the brief and wild experience of my life, and for the sin of making face-to-face human connection feel less than precious, by training myself to only feel the blunt joy of notifications.

For the sin that I have committed against you by being like “Phones! They’re so bad for us!” and then looking at my phone.

For all these sins, O God, forgive us, pardon us, grant us an upgrade. I mean, grant us atonement.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Author

Recommend this article

The Internet Sins We’ll Atone For This Yom Kippur

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close