First to Forgive

September 21, 2022 by Lazer Brody


We’ve received quite a few questions about forgiving before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, especially since our recent lesson, “No Judge, No Grudge.” Today’s podcast, with Hashem’s help, will provide some answers.

Part of me doesn’t want to forgive

The first question is:

How can I have the ability to forgive someone who’s done me wrong when part of me doesn’t want to forgive?

Answer – The part of you that doesn’t want to forgive is the EI. Until you forgive, you’ll be feeling negativity all the time. That negativity borders on hate, and hating a fellow human is a transgression of Torah. That’s the way the EI works. First, it tells you that as the victim, you don’t have to forgive. But when you don’t forgive, the wound of whatever damage someone did to you festers, and turns into negativity that ruins your day, or even your life. So, for your own benefit, be the first to forgive and that way you neutralize your EI and rescue yourself not only from negativity, but from transgressions of Torah as well.

“Let the aggressor feel my pain…”

The second question is:

What if I don’t want Hashem to forgive the person that harmed me until he or she feels my pain?

Answer – That’s problematic unless you’re a perfect tzaddik that never sinned. Why? If you need forgiveness for something, Hashem won’t forgive you until you forgive others. Once again, the EI is pulling the same trick. It tells you that as the victim, you don’t have to forgive. Even worse, you’re now praying and hoping that the aggressor becomes afflicted with the same pain you suffered. That is also a transgression of Torah, not one but two, called Nekima and netira, the desire for revenge and harboring a grudge. Don’t go there. Once more, for your own benefit, be the first to forgive and that way you neutralize your EI and rescue yourself transgressions of Torah. That’s the last thing we need between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The other side hasn’t asked for forgiveness!

The third question is:

How do you forgive someone who hasn’t asked for forgiveness, and is maybe still doing what he shouldn’t?

Answer – It’s always a good idea to inform a person, calmly and gently, that he or she did something that caused you pain, insult or anguish. If they react belligerently, forgive them anyway but then minimize contact. If its an abusive spouse, solicit outside help. At any rate, once you are the first to forgive, the other side softens. The full mitzvah of forgiveness is when we forgive unilaterally, regardless of what the other side does. That requires strong emuna. We forgive because Hashem wants us to forgive. By forgiving, we invoke Divine forgiveness across the board and are signed and sealed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for the best New Year ever, amen!

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