What does forgiveness look like for me?
Many Jews were amazed by the forgiveness offered by the survivors of the Charleston Church massacre. This Christian understanding of forgiveness is an extraordinarily powerful display of love but alien to many Jews. So what does it look like to offer forgiveness to another?
How many of us carry a hurt and cannot let it go. How many of us feel that someone’s poor treatment of us gives us license to treat them similarly? Or perhaps many of us want to extract a retribution or punishment before we will entertain forgiving another?
What might we look like if we could find a way to get past the hurt and find a way to repair a broken relationship? Can we set our egos aside or do we need to carry the hurt as a validation?
I wonder about these questions this Elul due to my particular perspective as a rabbi. As a rabbi, I am someone who has the sacred privilege of serving at funerals. I find it very sad that many people leave things unresolved until it is too late. The pain and the guilt that survives death becomes an even greater burden than the hurt that caused the rift between the two.
As we prepare for the High Holidays, let us examine our own motives and realize that even when the hurts are real, when we cannot forgive, these hurts become walls separating us from people we care about.
As we come to the end of the 6th day of Elul,