For me, forgiveness is one of the most powerful words in the English dictionary. Forgiveness is to give for yourself and for others. Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love and empowerment. It is the necessary action for humans to recover, learn and grow. Both the acts of forgiving and being forgiven are equally important when uncovering the essence of the meaning behind “forgiveness.”
By forgiving others we give a gift to ourselves – the gift of liberation. To forgive is to repair, to move forward and to set oneself free.
By forgiving we say, “I will not be a victim. I will not allow this action to define me. I will rise above.” By forgiving we enhance our own ability to repair and find common ground. By forgiving we strengthen our sympathies.
Forgiveness is also a gift we bestow upon others. By forgiving we are teaching kindness and communicating a message of trust. When we forgive, we award someone else a second chance and an opportunity to improve.
As we embark on the Jewish new year, we are directed to seek forgiveness for wrongs we have committed throughout the year. We reflect on how we may have hurt others with our words or our deeds. We are called to acknowledge our shortcomings and admit our failures. Through this process we learn to be more empathetic and to improve ourselves in the future.
This Rosh Hashanah, I commit myself to approaching more than a couple people to ask forgiveness. I plan to shepherd my children along the path of doing the same. It’s the simple act of asking and giving forgiveness that furthers our humanity and advances our families and communities.