Tuesday, August 20, 2013

HILKHOT TESHUBA 2:10. Forgive, for your own sake

The days of Elul are days of Teshuba. We ask forgiveness from God for any transgressions we might have done against His will. We should also seek forgiveness from our peers for any offenses or damages we might have caused them. 

And, we also need to be willing to forgive.

In Chapter 2, Halakha 10, Maimonides discusses forgiveness. 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 a very complex and difficult emotional task. But in these days of Teshuba, when we are requesting from HaShem to grant us the gift of forgiveness, we should be willing to forgive others as well.

Complete forgiveness implies the capacity of forgetting. We should definitely remember the lessons we have learned from all negative experiences. But we should let go the anger, the grudge and the personal feelings of revenge that might be growing inside us.

Emotional forgetfulness is the ultimate state of forgiveness. If we have decided to forgive the offender but somehow we are still filled with hatred and resentment, then full forgiveness has not been achieved.  If we don't get the negative feelings of animosity towards the offender out of our system, we damage our entire emotional system. We harm ourselves by giving the perpetrator a free ride to the control centre of our mind and heart.  Forgiving is good for the offender and for society.  But the main beneficiary is the victim, who regains control over his emotional health.

Clarification: We are referring particularly to social and personal offenses, i.e., when a friend, a family member, a colleague, a neighbor, etc. did something bad to us or said something wrong about us. Criminal cases are not included in what we have referred to in these brief lines. 

by Dr Dr. Stephen Marmer of UCLA Medical School. 
From Prageruniversity.com