The High Holidays remind us that as long as there are people, there will be sin. Hopefully there will also be the urge and opportunity to confess.
The G-dcast new-media studio had that in mind last year when it launched eScapegoat, a whimsical app that lets users confess their sins of any size. Now, once again, confessions such as “I stopped at Mcdonald’s instead of Kosher food” and “I lie about my past to make it more exciting” are trending on eScapegoat’s Twitter feed.
This year, G-dcast has come out with “Mini Goat” for organizations and synagogues to use to gather members’ sins. About 50 groups have signed up, according to G-dcast.
eScapegoat is based on the ancient Yom Kippur ritual in which the high priest confessed the Israelites’ sins on the head of a goat, which would then be sent into the wilderness and to its death, taking the sins with it.
But eScapegoat turns the traditional confessional – you should excuse the expression – on its head.
Whereas Yom Kippur requires a public confession of everyone’s sins, in the social media confessional, anonymous individuals confess sins and everyone reads them.
There’s another difference: In the scapegoat ritual, the destruction of the goat erased the people’s sins. But because the internet is eternal, sins confessed online are destined to bounce between servers forever.
Still, these all-to-human admissions — “I lied about a medical condition to get out of work to take the dogs to the groomer” – may open up a new way to allow us to forgive ourselves.