חטא - The Aleph At The End
If the Hebrew language is not written with vowels, why is the word חטא (sin) written with an aleph at the end? Shouldn't it have simply been spelled חט?
The Degel Machaneh Ephraim wrote that he heard from his grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov, that the aleph in the word חטא stands for Hashem (the Alufo shel Olam) and that this symbolizes that He too is also present in our sins. Before continuing his elaboration of this teaching, however, the Degel wrote,
"There is a profound way of interpreting this, but I am afraid to explain it, for my heart hesitates lest I err in my vision, chas v'shalom. Therefore, I shall only give a slight hint, and if Hashem grants me the privilege of understanding the matter thoroughly, I shall explain further."
The wicked person has no qualms about the sins he commits and so this Aleph at the end becomes mixed up and becomes indistinguishable from the other letters in the word חטא. The simple Jew, on the other hand, feels ashamed after he commits a sin because and understands that the Aleph is waiting for him after his sin.
In order to remain cognizant of the Aleph at the end, the Degel wrote that a person must embrace the dichotomy of living with splendor, knowing that he is a part of Hashem's holy nation, and at the same time living with with true and absolute humility. He can neither focus too heavily on his distinguished lineage and carry himself in an aristocratic and pompous manner, or focuses too heavily on his worthless and believe that he is not the right person to fulfill any mitzvah.