October 03, 2011
I hope all who are reading this had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah! We're cradled now in the embrace of the Days of Awe: Rosh Hashanah on one side, Yom Kippur on the other. These are the aseret y'mei teshuvah, the ten days of repentance and return.
There's so much I want to write. About my first Rosh Hashanah as a "real rabbi;" about reaping the harvest of the sacred storytelling class I took last summer at the ALEPH Kallah; about watching my parents discover my son anew at this wonderful moment in his life. Maybe next week I'll have time to share some of those stories and reflections.
For now, I just want to say -- and I mean this, honestly -- if I have hurt or offended you in the year which just ended, I ask your forgiveness. Jewish tradition recognizes a distinction between sins which impact the relationship between a person and God, and sins which impact the relationship between people. As we read in Talmud:
את זו דרש רבי אלעזר בן עזריה, (ויקרא טז) מכל חטאתיכם לפני יי תטהרו, עברות שביןאדם למקום, יום הכפורים מכפר. עברות שבין אדם לחברו, אין יום הכפורים מכפר, עד שירצה את חברו
R. Elazar b. Azariah taught this interpretation of the verse "From all your sins you shall be made pure before God." (Lev. 16:30) For transgressions between a person and the Everpresent One, the Day of Atonement atones, but for transgressions between a person and one's fellow, the Day of Atonement atones only if the person regains the other's goodwill."
I ask for your goodwill and your forgiveness for any places where I may have missed the mark in our relationship in the past year.
Wishing all who live by the Jewish festival calendar a g'mar chatimah tovah -- may you be sealed for a good year to come.