hugs.jpgThe weather was perfect, and Rosh Hashanah in Galus went as planned. Here in Long Beach we celebrated the New Year with services and meals and lots of honey. Many new students and veterans joined the festivities held over the last three days. It all culminated with a blowout huge Shabbos dinner at our home on Friday night. The love was there – it was ahavas yisroel time – and the vibe was just great.

I turned on my computer after nearly four days of inaction, and it felt awkward. It felt so unnatural. Making a phone call. Driving to the pharmacy. It was all surreal after so many days off the grid.

We had great discussions over the chag. We spoke about community, about mitzvos, about the holidays, and about forgiveness. There is so much to fix in our lives, but I encouraged us all to start with forgiveness.

Forgive myself. Forgive myself for not doing the things I said I was going to do, but I didn’t. For the ways I wanted to grow, but didn’t. For the times I let others down.

and then forgive others. Even if those who hurt me don’t ask for forgiveness, I don’t want to drag this baggage into the New Year. Don’t let that stuff accompany me into 5768. Hurt that keeps me from living in joy at times.

Forgive people for all kinds of things. Forgive people for things they did unconsciously. Forgive my friends, my ex-friends, my students, my spouse, my kids, my neighbor, my teachers, and my parents for any little thing芒鈧滻 hope they forgive me too. Forgive them for the sake that we are human, and we need to build love not walls. Forgive them in my heart, and begin the process of repair.

It’s not easy the forgiveness game. Truly forgiving another for the pain they have caused. But how can I hope that Hashem will forgive me? How can I hope my friends will forgive me if I cannot forgive others…

And how can I forgive people who spoke gossip or slander against me? They have said things that I consider hurtful and spread them in the wind like dandelion seeds…How can I forgive this?

It does no good to hold on to the grudge. It festers. And loshon hora always comes back to haunt. Its like a boomarang. It might take time, but eventually, measure for measure, that which we say can be used against us.

Forgiveness. That is the work for the first few days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

If I have offended or hurt you, in my prose or comments… I am sorry.

Unless you defame, attack, or injure the Jewish people, seek Israel’s destruction, and other nasty stuff like that…

and then I am not sorry.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah