Forgive us. Pardon us. Grant us atonement. We beseech G-d to be merciful, to accept that we recognize we have transgressed, turning our lives toward better ways. We gather together and cast bread into a body of moving water in order to symbolically carry our sins away. And we fast in order to personally focus on the enormity of this opportunity to recast our lives in the moving waters of our daily living.
Further, we are not limited to a single day in order to achieve this. The book of life remains open until Sukkot concludes, giving us additional time to traverse the path to salvation, forgiveness and ultimately, worthiness of inscription in the book of life.
And G-d is not the only one of whom we seek forgiveness. We must seek forgiveness from others and we must seek forgiveness within ourselves. But how do we rise to authenticity in this?
And while we may express it in public ways and in symbolic ways, it is really a most private undertaking. Forgiveness is tricky. But how do we rise to authenticity in this?
Forgiveness is tricky. It requires authenticity and sincerity by both the one seeking forgiveness and the one offering it. But by what is that measured?
My mom would advise me to forgive, but not forget. If you’re not forgetting, then does it pass the threshold of forgiveness? Does it matter who’s seeking forgiveness from us? I’m quicker to forgive those I love, those I care about or with whom I’ve got a meaningful relationship. And so, do they need to ask forgiveness, or do I simply forgive them because it fits my perception of love and acceptance? Some may remember “Love Story,” a sentimental book and movie with the line ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry.’ I don’t prescribe to that notion. I think love means you should say you’re sorry (if you are).
So even as we mark the new year as a time of reflection, any day is a worthy day to look inside one’s self. Forgiveness I believe begins with some ability to forgive ourselves, to understand that each of us struggles, we make mistakes, we don’t always get life right, we don’t always treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated and in turn, others don’t necessarily treat us as we believe we deserve to be treated. Intention is the heart and measure of the matter. Are we able to forgive and to forget? Are others?
Forgiveness can be tricky. I hope on the dawn of 5780 we are each able to find and to extend forgiveness that is authentic and sincere.
On behalf of my husband Larry and all our family, may you be inscribed for a year of peace in the world and of inner peace. Shana tova.