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10/07/2022 02:57:58 PM



"For sins against one's fellow man Yom Kippur does not atone until one has appeased him."

In the Laws of Erev Yom Kippur the author of the Shulchan Aruch discusses the role placed on the person who hurt someone else."For sins against one's fellow man Yom Kippur does not atone until one has appeased him. Even if he only hurt him with words, he must appease him." The RMA explains the role of the hurt person: "And the forgiving person shall not be cruel and abstain from forgiving." This serves as a call to all of us to belong to the Forgiving Party.

Why? Why is it right to forgive someone who hurt us? Why shouldn't he continue bearing the burden, and why does the forgiving person have to bear the hurt of the betrayal? Amongst other reasons there is that of the Mishna Brura: "For he who overlooks and does not bear a grudge- all his sins are overlooked. And if he does not want to forgive, he shall not forgive him." This Mishna Brura can be read as including two different reasons.

The first reason is the key to our relationship to G-d. When we ourselves are standing on Yom Kippur asking G-d to forgive us for all that we sinned during the entire year – how can we come to this position if we ourselves are not prepared to be from the Forgivers to those who hurt us during the entire year? A person's ability to move G-d in his favor depends on his being prepared to move towards his friend's direction. In a place where a person is well liked by people, he is well liked by G-d. In a place where he gives others the benefit of the doubt, G-d will give him the benefit of the doubt. In a place where a person is prepared to forgive another for the pain that he wrought upon him, he is entitled to enter the Gates to ask for forgiveness from G-d.

However, if he himself closes himself up and chooses to continue bearing the grudge, pain and hatred – how can he enter the Gates of forgiveness? This does not apply to sins when a person should not forgive. In certain circumstances one has permission not to forgive and not to reward the sinner and enable him to continue in his bad ways. However, in general adopting the inner feeling of forgiveness is the best way for one to be able to stand before G-d to ask for His forgiveness.

It is possible that the Mishna Brura has an additional reason, applying more to our interpersonal relationships. Let a person who refuses to forgive ask himself – In what type of society does he want to live? In a society where arguments and fighting remain as is and continue to hurt and obstruct, or in a society where the language of forgiveness and appeasement are adopted? All in all, we all get hurt and we all hurt. Therefore, if we do not agree to forgive, we are empowering the general atmosphere of an angry, revenging society – and we will then find that our own ability to remedy our ways is stopped up and those who were angry at us will continue to be so.

Therefore, it is better for us to adopt the guidance of the RMA and be amongst the Forgivers. This will open up the Heavenly Gates and our ability to stand before G-d and ask for His forgiveness. It will also be our contribution in building a society where people open their hearts, clear out obstacles and turn towards a new year with good deep relationships with others, allowing us to live bright lives that unite all of us.

Our forgiveness creates a great light of forgiveness and atonement towards Heaven and towards others.


Sat, December 2 2023 19 Kislev 5784