A Bisl Torah

Do You Really Mean It?

This week’s Bisl Torah is featured in the Jewish Journal.

There is clearly a right and wrong way of expressing an apology.

So many of us experience the latter. A mistake is made, and the following dialogue is used: I am so sorry that you feel this way. As if the anguished party is at fault for feeling anguished. While we seem to understand that expressing our wrongdoing is the “right” thing to do, there is disconnect between knowing and admitting that we just fell short.

Our Torah portion delineates the proper way one offers a sacrifice to God. Where the sacrifice should be offered, and which parts of the animal may be gifted. Perhaps the idea is not every offering we make to God or another individual should be accepted. While it runs contrary to the notion, “Don’t look a gift horse in its mouth”, a halfhearted expression of gratitude or remorse is often worse than not offering anything at all.

Our faith emphasizes the alignment of apology with genuine heart. The Talmud speaks about the person that makes a mistake and attempts to repent but doesn’t repent with proper intention. That person is compared to someone immersing within a mikvah, the purifying water rushing around him, as he holds something impure within his hands. In other words, no amount of apologizing or ritual immersion will purify someone’s soul if the intent doesn’t match the deed.

When we fall short, as we all do, let our hearts align with our words, making our offerings acceptable, welcomed, and praised.

Shabbat Shalom

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