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I'm Sorry

Thursday, 20 September, 2012 - 9:00 am

I'm Sorry

As Yom Kippur approaches many communities have a tradition to ask of each other for forgiveness.  If I have wronged you, tradition tells us that you must get reconciliation from the one you wronged.  Only then can you turn to G-d to get His forgiveness. 

As a child it was cute fun to go from one person to another and say "do you forgive me, do you forgive me?".  I remember once, approaching an older Chosid (hassid) with this question. He looked at me with a smile and said, "Chassidim don't ask for forgiveness before Yom Kippur".  I asked him why and he said, "how can a Jew approach G-d with resentment towards another and expect that G-d will forgive them for their offenses to the Almighty.  In other words, if we carry some resentment towards another that requires them to ask us for forgiveness that means that we are carrying a lack of Ahavat Yisroel (love for a fellow) in our hearts.  Accordingly, how could we possibly stand before G-d to ask Him for forgiveness?

I am not suggesting that we all follow this Chasids advice to the extreme.  If you know that you have wronged someone in particular, please make it your business to receive their pardon.  More importantly though, there is a powerful message about forgiveness in this story.

When we love another, when we are connected deeply to another, then forgiveness is automatic.  If we truly love someone, than we love them with their shortcomings.  Those shortcomings include the offenses they have made against us.  Love should be blind, love should overlook, love should be complete.

When we stand before G-d on Yom Kippur we ask for forgiveness.  If our focus is on the transgressions than we open ourselves up to scrutiny of the specifics.   If however we approach G-d on this most holy of days, this day of At-One-ment, when we are one with G-d, all five aspects of our souls, like angels without food or water, in the spirit of Love to our Creator and evoking His love in response, than we are assured that the forgiveness will be complete.

There is no better way to evoke that love than through finding that love within our hearts to those that have perhaps wronged us. Go find the love and may it be a truly loving year!

May we all be inscribed and sealed for a year of revealed good!

Have a Great Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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