In the va’ad about forgiveness in A Season of Mussar II, participants are invited to stand before the group and recite a prayer to forgive someone. The power of the words is palpable. Releasing the pain of a wrong done to you takes gevurah (strength), emunah (faith) and more than a little anavah (humility), too.
I felt moved, even as the facilitator, to hear myself speak the words and forgive someone close to me. I have continued to try to work on this middah, because freeing myself from the burden of unmet expectations feels so much better than carrying around that bitterness.
My biggest personal challenge with this middah is forgiving myself. Mussar helps me work toward a goal of living in the present tense, unburdened by past mistakes and worry about the future. Participating in and facilitating TMI courses keeps me focused on that goal, and I am deeply grateful to be on this path and sharing it with so many like-minded souls.
Several months ago, when we selected the 2013 themes for Yashar, we did not yet know that Kallah XI would focus on relationships. Yet, the choice now seems inspired.
Read Rabbi Berger’s exposition on the levels of forgiveness we can explore, Sam Finnerman’s recounting of his spiritual journey and Roann Altman’s eloquent article about how much the Kallah has to offer, and you will no doubt grasp how critical forgiveness is to building the relationships we want to have.
With the High Holidays just a month away and the Kallah a month later, the opportunities for growth and forgiveness abound. How could I ever forgive myself if I let them slip away? Hopefully, that will not be necessary.
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