“For there is no man so wholly righteous on earth that he (always) does good and never sins.
Kohelet / Ecclesiastes 7:20
We are in the month of Elul and this verse from Kohelet perfectly fits into the days before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Here, Kohelet points out one of our human weaknesses: Namely, our imperfection and that we are totally unable to become perfect.
Last night at a Shiur, Rabbi Mordechai Machlis was asking the question, why Kohelet (written by King Salomon / Shlomo HaMelech) is letting us know that humankind in not perfect and that we will always sin. The greatest Zaddik (righteous person) or the greatest most holy Rebbe will always sin. The Yetzer HaRah (evil inclination) is constantly around us and even if we fight it with our greatest strengths, there are times when we give in. When temptations are getting to strong and we cannot resist anymore.
So, we read that there is no man who always does good. Nice, but what exactly is the verse teaching us?
Maybe that we should reflect our behaviour. No man is always righteous and Kohelet is reminding us of our human reality. We don’t stand above everything but we are vulnerable and weak.
In Judaism we distinguish between three different kinds of sin:
Chet – The literal translation is “missing the goal” and not “sin”. A Chet is considered as something unintentional (shogeg).
Avon – This is a sin where the sinner was aware of his wrongdoings (mesid).
Pesha – Someone who does deliberately sin. e.g. Eating non – kosher food when there is a plate of kosher food standing right in front of him. This person does everything to mock G – d.