Please forgive me

Two thoughts leading into this post:

1) “To err is human.  To forgive is divine.”

2) “Yom Kippur atones only for sins against G-d. It does not atone for sins against another human being until the offender has placated the offended.” (paraphrased from the Rabbinical Assembly machzor).

Indeed, the second one is there because Yom Kippur begins in less than 48 hours.  I know that I have offended and wronged many people in the past year, including people that I know, people who know me, and people for which the acquaintance is one-way, and even those for which there is a zero-way street of acquaintance.  This has been done through words, deeds, lack of words, inaction, and deep thoughts as well as other mechanisms that may be unknown to me.

I could not possibly enumerate every person that I have offended this year, and I don’t think that is the point of the second quote listed above.  It would be impossible for a person to completely obtain forgiveness for everything wrong done to other people, because of many reasons.  Perhaps there is little or no social contact between the people.  Perhaps it is something that takes more than a simple apology in order to placate.  Though I dread thinking this, there can even be some wrongs that people will never accept apology for.

The important thing, I feel, is to sincerely attempt to regain the favor from people that you have wronged, and realize when  something done, said, or thought may be irreversible.  In some ways, attempting to gain an apology might actually cause more wrongs.  I cannot immediately produce any examples off the top of my head, but they could exist.

As I have mentioned, I have both been the perpetrator as well as the victim of wrongs over the past year.  None of these for which I have been a victim of are those that I consider to be irreversible and non-apologizable.  Therefore, I hereby forgive anyone who has wronged me in the past year.  If a blog post/Facebook message is not sincere enough, please let me know.  I hope that you (plural) will forgive me too.

And about the “to forgive is divine…” all of us will make mistakes toward other people as well as ourselves.  Part of forgiveness, which is probably something overlooked often, is that you have to be able to forgive yourself for your own shortcomings.  As one of the English translations of one of the piyyutim in the Yom Kippur service says: “How can I function when I am the source of my own destruction?”  Perhaps the first step to asking for forgiveness is to go deep inside and forgive yourself for what you feel has brought you down.

Regardless, even after accepting apologies, more negatives can happen.  Still, we cannot let these negatives take us over.  Negatives are in the mind of the beholder.

G’mar chatimah tovah… may we be sealed in the Book of Life.


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