Why I need Forgiveness this Year: Improving my odds for a good year to come!
by Sarah Lasry
As I sit here on my couch this Erev –Erev Yom Kippur I am thinking of the year that has just past.
In my head, I am going through the many ups and unfortunately the many downs that have occurred throughout my year. Truthfully, this sort of reflection is something that I find quite hard to do, living and thinking about each event, each good day & bad, each moment of interaction with others , everything that has left its impression and had shaped my last year.
For me personally this last year, even with all the good that has occurred, there is still much that I would not like to have repeated for the year to come. I am not sure that I would, personally, categorize my past year as a very “good” one. So as I sit here on my couch, I am realizing that there are a few things that I can do “last minute” , to improve my odds-so-to-speak, and really make my efforts in teshuvah (repentance) all that more stronger. So I can “guarantee” as best as I can, that this coming year , will be not only one that is good,-but will be the best year yet- that I have experienced till now!
I recently read Rabbi Mansour’s blog about the IMPORTANCE of asking for Forgiveness Before Yom Kippur. He writes “ The importance of requesting forgiveness from one’s fellow before Yom Kippur cannot be overstated. According to some opinions, one cannot even earn atonement for sins committed against God if he does not receive forgiveness from the people whom he had wronged. Furthermore, the Kaf Ha’haim writes that if a person does not seek his friend’s forgiveness before Yom Kippur, then the prosecuting angel comes before God and argues against this person. The angel contends that the person is not concerned about his sins, as evidenced by his unwillingness to ask for his fellow’s forgiveness, and therefore should not be granted atonement on Yom Kippur. One must therefore make every effort before Yom Kippur to make amends with all those whom he had wronged over the course of the year.”
Something inside me jumped when I read Rabbi Mansour’s words. Even though this lesson on forgiveness is not new to me, it is for some reason resonating loudly in my heart .
You see before Yom Kippur I am guilty of making those phone call to my friends & family, like we all do, wishing them a shana tova & an easy fast. And of course, I always throw in at the end, the obligatory & some-what careless “I hope you Mochel Me (forgive me) for anything “…
But there was one or two people that I have not called, that I know that even though I may not agree with their grievances towards me, that for whatever reason, they were hurt or upset with my actions towards them. One of them went so far as to write me an 8 page letter some 6 years ago. At that time, I ignored her issues with me, writing her off as someone who needed to get a life and look elsewhere for friendship I was just not interested in dealing with her “issues”.
But tonight after reading that paragraph above about forgiveness, I realized, what is MY problem?
How dare I take this persons feelings of hurt and ignore them – and to do so for so long – I am sitting here quite ashamed of my arrogance. How can I beg for Hashems forgiveness and expect him to grant it, if I can be so callous with someone else?
And so, I took the first step too real teshuvah I feel tonight - it really is never too late -and have bit the bullet and gave this person my deepest heartfelt apology – and begged her forgiveness.
It was really something hard &embarrassing initially to try & do, but yet so EASY really –Why did it take me soo long? On to the next person on my list – this year when I ask for mechila from someone it is a real question not a flippant response or action like in the past.
I share this all with you, hoping to inspire you as I was inspired.
May Hashem grant us all a Year we WANT to Remember this YEAR!
Wishing all my KS fans, friends and family a good blessed year to come, and hoping for all of you an easy and meaningful fast.