#BlogElul 13 – Forgive


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#BlogElul

Wow. Maybe it’s time to accuse Rabbi Sommer of some serious prescience. Not only is the transition from Trust to Forgive pretty darned seamless, I wrote a blog post about Not Doing Mean in between.

I’ve posted many times on this blog about David Wood – in particular this post about kindness and forgiveness comes to mind.

In it, David extols the virtues of instant forgiveness – letting go of the pain that people have caused you, and not carrying the anger around with you like an insidious poison.

He describes how he went back to England to talk with the family members who had hurt him in the past, and how he was able to put the hurt and anger behind him, to the great improvement of his own life. He hasn’t forgotten what they did, and he still speaks of it frankly; but now he talks about the family members themselves with compassion rather than hate.

I think that’s the main point about forgiveness, really. It’s not about the perpetrator. It’s about the injured party. I don’t think too many people are up for instant forgiveness, but eventually, over the years, with a more mature understanding and a wider view of life, the universe and everything, maybe we can let go of some of the anger. Maybe we can even feel some compassion for that person, who must have been so damaged to be so cruel. Whole people are not cruel.

In the post about Trust, I quoted this (foul-mouthed, you were warned) poem by Philip Larkin. In that post, I said it was cynical. But now I wonder whether there is an undercurrent of compassion there, for the parents who were “f-ed up in their turn”. Maybe. I would like to think so.

In this time of Elul, it is customary to go to those whom we have wronged and ask them for forgiveness. Whom can we find it in our hearts to forgive in order to cleanse our souls even more?

Talking of compassion, and of Rabbi Sommer, her son Sam is about to start the procedure for a bone marrow transplant. Any prayers and good vibes you can spare would be greatly appreciated. You can also follow Superman Sam‘s adventures. That kid is something else, and he has a family to match. May he be blessed with many years of health and vitality after he has put this frightening episode behind him. Amen.

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