As I sit writing this month’s post, I am in a contemplative mood. The Jewish High Holidays are around the corner, in fact as of the publication date, it is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. And the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, are also called “The Days of Awe.” These are the holiest days for us and an opportunity to reflect on the past year, to take stock of ourselves and our lives and to think about how we can grow into better versions of ourselves in the coming year.
One of the most important things we do at this time is to ask forgiveness of those we’ve wronged or hurt during the year. It is customary to do this in person but in these days of electronic communication, many accomplish this task via social media. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe it is always appropriate to ask forgiveness in whatever fashion is available. But much like sending an email thank you note, to me it falls in the “better than nothing,” category. In other words, not as personal and seems like the easy way out. But…better than nothing. There is also the mandate that if you are the person who is being asked for forgiveness, that you must try to accept. If, after three attempts you cannot accept, the person doing the asking is “off the hook,” so to speak.
Why all this focus on forgiveness being asked for and granted? I don’t have a rabbinic answer, but I do have my answer. To be honest, I have a very difficult time admitting when I’m wrong. I know I inherited this from my dad and try as I might, it’s probably the thing I struggle with the hardest in relationships (ask my husband for more on that). But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that admitting you’ve been wrong and asking for forgiveness is one of the strongest things a person can do. Taking responsibility for our actions, I believe, is fundamental to fostering and maintaining healthy relationships. Not only that, but granting forgiveness when asked is also fundamental. These behaviors serve to level the playing field between people. Recognizing our basic, common humanity, moving beyond our mistakes and even loving each other in spite of it all is perhaps the trickiest, and yet, most rewarding thing in a relationship.
This coming year, I hope to become better at admitting when I’m wrong, asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness to others. And while I can’t actually ask each of you in person, I’ll take advantage of this forum to ask for forgiveness if I’ve hurt or wronged you in any way. To those I can ask in person, stay tuned. And to everyone, here’s wishing a happy, healthy and sweet New Year, whatever your faith, tradition, practice or belief. Because who couldn’t use a little more happy, healthy and sweet?
About Barbara Dab
Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood. Check it out at www.nashvillepilatescompany.com. She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors. Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com. If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.
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