Off the Pulpit

Wounding and Forgiving

Right before Yom Kippur two women who have had a long standing fight see one another in the synagogue. One says: “You know, it is a new year. It is time to put an end to the bickering and fighting. I want you to know that in the new year I wish for you everything you wish for me.”

And the second woman says, “So, you are starting up with me again!”

Elul is the month of repentance but also a time of forgiveness. We know we are supposed to approach others and ask for forgiveness but what if we are the wronged party? When others approach what should we do?

To forgive is to no longer feel superior. It is to admit that you too are in need of forgiveness. While it may be that something you find unforgivable, the vast majority of things we need to forgive are forgivable. The cruel thing said to you when you have said cruel things. The business taken from you when you know you have taken business from others. Of course it is difficult. We hurt, we grudge, we nurse grievances. The world is full of wounding. It can only be healed by becoming a world full of forgiveness.