Monday, September 7, 2009

need help understanding something-all clarified

the rabbi clarified what he said originally...this was written to one of my friends, not me, so it doesn't clarify it perfectly, but it does help...

You have been grieviously hurt. The pain is still there. Question: Did anyone ask you for forgiveness? Obviously not. There is no obligation to forgive someone who has injured you when they haven’t asked for mechila (forgiveness) [and probably not acknowledged any wrongdoing]. As far as Lo sikom (revenge, ie: “you didn’t lend me, I won’t lend you), lo sitor (harboring ill will, ie: you didn’t lend me but I’m not like you, I’m better), lo sisno (do not hate)-there the Chafetz Chaim says one must be machmir (stringent). “Forgiveness” means absolving the perp from responsibility. That is not required.

If, for example, your two year old nephew would kick you in your shin, and leave a bruise, he’s only two years old, not responsible for his actions. You would automatically “forgive” him. If you can look at the perp(s) as “mentally defective” (and to some extent they are) and not responsible for what they did, and thus forgive them, WOW!! If you can actually have a cordial relationship, then “go to the head of the class.” A remarkable achievement, but NOT a requirement.

When we say vidui, we (A) acknowledge our wrongdoing, (B) we express remorse for what we did, and (C) we ask for forgiveness. Hashem, the Av Harachamon, forgives us. NO, you are not in deep trouble at all! You are reacting as any normal person. Hatzlocha


  1. I dunno. Not sure who the Rabbi is, but it's certainly just one opinion.

    And of course "forgiveness" is a very abstract concept. Like, if I can forgive the person for acting with a defect does that mean I forgive the action. Of course not. I think.

    Also, there is one idea I've been mulling over a bunch recently that seems relevant here. I heard recently a shiur from R' Tatz regarding the notion of "bearing a grudge", and the example he gives is you ask a neighbor to borrow a lawnmower and he refuses, then the week later he asks to borrow your lawnmower.
    You can't simply say "no, you didn't let me borrow yours" or "fine, even though you didn't let me borrow yours", as was mentioned by this Rabbi in his response.
    He did however make a comment that if the guy is a lawn-mower eater then you can refuse him your lawn-mower.
    There is something about this idea that harboring ill will when it's "justified" might not be so simple, and simply being machmir doesn't resolve the issue at hand. In my understanding of it, anyway.

  2. Yep, no need to forgive someone who hasn't asked forgiveness or aknowledged wrongdoing!

  3. I don't agree that you can compare it to a child kicking you.
    1) There is more intention than when a child does this, there is more cunning, manipulating, etc: the deed is not done in innocence.

    2) the damage is more lasting.

    3) If a child causes lasting damage, the parents have to pay for it, you won't just "forgive because it was a child".

  4. bts-you're welcome

    ari-not sure what you're trying to say...

    twinkle-he's showing how it's different than a child. since the child is different than an adult acting like a total jerk, you forgive him. not so with sexual least that's the way i understood it.

  5. >> ari-not sure what you're trying to say...

    Well, I may have missed the Rabbi's intent the first time around but I had read it as saying that forgiving somebody who might not "deserve" isn't required but is the "right thing to do".
    And I think the matter at hand isn't black-or-white.

    I'm thinking it's a matter of whether or not the excuse in this case is "excusable", and that's where it gets fuzzy for me.

  6. ari-he's saying that if you can do it, you're an amazing person, and if not, you're normal. that's all...

  7. yea, I guess that's fair, and what should always be striving to be great, instead of just "normal".

    I guess I just felt that the connotation of being "normal" wasn't really ok . . . and it seemed to discount how difficult this situation would be to go above-and-beyond normal, as opposed to other situations where it would be easier to forgive someone who may not "deserve" it/may not have a "good" excuse.


c'mon, i know you're reading this! what do you think?