#BlogElul 10: Forgive

Wow, Rabbi Sommer, that’s a hefty theme to put on a Friday, when I’m busy getting ready for Shabbat!

Forgiveness is an interesting topic, because it is presented as a sign of ultimate altruism – this person must be a super nice and evolved person, because she forgave the person who did this dreadful thing to her. As if the forgiveness was a benefit to the perpetrator, rather than the recipient of whatever terrible thing happened (I am purposely avoiding the word victim).

To be honest, most perpetrators do not derive much benefit from forgiveness. They may see it as a sign of weakness, a reason to try and take advantage again. That is a reason to be on guard, even after forgiveness.

The purpose of forgiveness is to release oneself from the burden of pain and anger. As someone wise once said, holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

So love yourself enough to let go of anger and resentment. Not to benefit the perpetrator, but as a gift to yourself. Open the blinds and let the sunshine in.

Shabbat Shalom!

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