Friday, September 9, 2011

Should we forgive?

The days of Elul are days of Teshuba. We ask forgiveness from God, for any ritual transgressions we might have done. And we should seek our peer's forgiveness for any offenses we might have caused them.

We also need to be willing to forgive.

In Chapter 2, Halakha 10, Maimonides talks about the appropriate attitude of the victim of an offense. He says: "It is forbidden for a person to be insensitive (akhzari) and refuse to be appeased... rather, when someone approaches him seeking his forgiveness, he should forgive him wholeheartedly and with a positive spirit".

Forgiving is one of the most difficult emotional acts we might be performing in our lives, but at the time we ask forgiveness from God, we should be willing to forgive others as well.

Seeking revenge or even bearing a grudge is actually a Biblical prohibition. According to Maimonides, these altruistic values have had such an impact in the Jewish nation that it became already a 'second nature', or part of the Jews present genetic makeup. "[forgiving is part of] the nature (darkan) of the descendants of israel and the inclination of their hearth"

I must clarify, however, that we are referring here to social and personal forgiveness: when a friend, a colleague, a neighbor, etc.did something wrong to me.

Political forgiveness is a more complicated matter (I urge the reader to read this): we have no right to forgive the perpetrators and accomplices of the Shoa or those who had any involvement in brutal terrorists acts in Israel or in the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Actually in this week's Persaha the Torah states clearly that some instances, like the irrational hatred of Amaleq, should never be forgiven or even forgotten, but constantly remembered, lest it repeats itself.


Candle Lighting in NYC: 6.57 PM

Shabbat Ends in NYC: 8.03 PM

Rabbi Yosef Bitton.

130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024.


Click here to see a wonderful presentation by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on this Perasha, about forgiveness and remembrance.

To watch and to remember: SEPTEMBER 11, memorial