Monday, March 27, 2023

Today in the news we heard of a renowned tennis player who was mistaken by a plainclothes policeman to be a credit card scam artist. He was thrown to the ground and handcuffed in the middle of Manhattan as he repeatedly told the police officer that he was scared and was not sure what to say. Fifteen minutes after the police officer realized that he had the wrong man, did he say he was sorry?

Today we also learned of a rabbi now in prison who sent a letter of apology to a Washington newspaper asking them to print it, and he addressed it to the women and community that he had deceived and hurt devastatingly. Can they ever accept such an apology?

Many of us have been involved in minor fender benders where if we know we are to blame we generally get out of our car, offering our words of apology to whoever we hit. “I’m so sorry.”

We can look back over the years at the agonizing actions that were taken by governments and elected officials making decisions that had repercussions so great that many were killed. Did they say they were sorry?

Should an apology be accepted by the family of a victim killed in a drunk driving incident? The driver was totally drunk at the wheel and at his trial turns to them and asks forgiveness.

Several years ago there was a devastating mistake made in the reading of women’s mammogram reports in Montreal. Women went through treatments that they did not need and others were told their exams were normal when in fact the women did have breast cancer. Should that person who said he was sorry be exonerated?

We do not feel in a position to determine what other people should or should not do in the above situations. We can only work on ourselves. Now that we are at the cusp of Yom Kippur we look to our inner selves as a couple and as parents and as friends to others.

It is not easy to ask forgiveness from someone you love. It is impossible for two people who are in a committed relationship to not hurt one another at some time. It has nothing to do with love. It has to do with life. We are human and we do and say silly things that we are sometimes not proud of. It is before Yom Kippur that we need to recognize the one person who means the most to us and apologize and ask forgiveness for whatever transpired during the year. Anyone who does not feel that this is necessary “because”—is not being honest with him or herself.

As well, we always make it a point of calling our children and asking them for mechila. No parent is perfect and certainly no parent is capable of never saying something or doing something that might hurt their children. When our children became older and we would make our yearly phone call of asking mechila there would usually be a silent pause and then a response of “Come on you didn’t do anything.” We need to be comfortable to recognize on both sides our shortcomings, and all of us make mistakes.

Even to our wonderful readers who have made our transition to the community most comfortable by telling us that they enjoy reading this column, we must ask for forgiveness if in any of our words we said anything that offended you.

We wish you all a gmar chatima tova and look forward to a wonderful year shared by all of us with compassion and understanding.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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