Parshat Shoftim: Be Your Own Cop
A Hug from Hashem

Let it Go

Shavua Tov, everyone! Racheli here, and I can't believe another week has gone by! I'm half asleep, so I hope this post makes sense. Here's a thought that we should all try to work on this week. It's called forgiveness. To me, that's such a non-pc word. I hate it. But a word I hate even more is the word, "sorry," but only if I'm saying it. If my husband says it, I first get more mad at him, because then I have no excuse not to forgive him. And that's the problem.

Let's be honest. Many times we don't want to forgive the other person because we still feel like we have the upper hand. Assuming they're asking for our forgiveness, it means we know they're wrong, and they know they're wrong. Therefore, we feel like we deserve to hold it over their heads. Maybe we would like a little more groveling and some begging? Or is it just me? 

Believe me, I know how hard it is to forgive, especially when our hurt feelings are completely justified. For me, agreeing to forgive someone that wronged me is almost as bad as admitting that I was wrong, even if I wasn't. What's the alternative? Holding a grudge? What good does it do us? Does it make us happier and less stressed? And what if it's family or someone we see every day? Does it make things easier by having to avoid each other, or pretend like the other person doesn't exist? Doesn't that just ruin any fun family get-together? Or is that an oxymoron in itself?

Holding back our forgiveness is one of the evil inclination's favorite tricks. Not only does he manage to rob us of our happiness and weigh us down with anger, stress, and all types of negative emotions, but he manages to take away our blessings at the same time. When we don't forgive another, we are literally shutting off the channels of abundance that should be pouring down on us. It's really like the saying goes: we cut off our nose to spite our face. In the end, we are the ones that lose. 

And, of course, I have to remind you (and me) that lack of forgiveness = lack of emuna. Ultimately, we don't really believe that it was Hashem that sent that person as a messenger of divine justice. That person, for whatever reason, was chosen to do the dirty work. So if we're like the rabid dog that's getting his poisonous slobber all over the stick that he's biting, instead of looking at the person holding the stick, then we've missed the point of the message and soul correction that Hashem was trying to send us. 

At the end of the day, holding a grudge is just not worth it. Let it go. You don't have to be best friends with that person, but just be on amicable terms. You'll feel so much better aftewards, I promise. With Rosh Hashana only a few short weeks away, there is no better time than now to fix our broken relationships. So this week, any time someone hurts, insults, annoys, or bothers the heck out of you, repeat this invaluable mantra to yourself: let it go. 

Wishing you a wonderful week!

Comments

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Kalman Mem

When you say that lack of forgiveness = lack of emuna, is that always true?

Let's say that someone wronged me in a clear and unambiguous way. For example: Ploni stole something from me and refuses to return the item.

By every right, there's no reason for me to forgive Ploni. According to Halacha he needs to compensate me first. So in the case is actually better if I forgive?

Heather

That is good advice but what if you're on the other end of it? When you've sought forgiveness but the person refuses to even acknowledge your existence? When you've tried over and over again to discuss the issue but the person continually shuts you down? Neither one of you will have peace about the issue...

 Racheli

Kalman, that's a great question. You need to forgive him in your heart, but you certainly don't need to have any sort of relationship with him. You may also take him to a bet din. The point is, you must ultimately recognize that Hashem willed this to happen, and therefore not see Ploni as the cause of your suffering. Ultimately, Hashem took it away, because it's better to have something stolen from you than to suffer a harsher judgment. Ploni is just the stick in the Master's hands.

 Racheli

Heather, the general rule is that you do your maximum to obtain this person's forgiveness. Once you can say that you gave it your best shot, and several times at that, the ball is now in his court. You can rest easy. If they decide to not forgive you, that is no longer your concern. If I remember correctly, I think three attempts at obtaining forgiveness are what are required, but you should check with your Rabbi to make sure. If possible, give this person his space. Time usually takes away the sting, too.

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