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What is true forgiveness (+Bonus Story) - Chukat-Balak

Wednesday, 1 July, 2020 - 8:42 am

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In the weekly Torah portion Chukat-Balak, the Jews went (again) to Moses to complain, using inappropriate words. G-d got upset and sent poisonous snakes that killed many Jews. The Jews understood they were wrong and went to Moses to ask for forgiveness. Moses forgave them and prayed for the snakes to be removed. G-d commanded him to make a copper snake, place it on a high pole, and all who will gaze heavenward will be healed.

Our Sages teach us that, like Moses, we need not toughen our hearts but be ready to forgive those who ask for our forgiveness. But it needs to be a true forgiveness.

There is the “I forgive you”, which is only oral, but in his heart, the person has not forgiven at all.

There is the “I forgive you” which is not complete. The person will not punish the culprit for his action, but their relationship will never be the same.

Yet, there is the true “I forgive you”, which means that the relationship of the two persons will get back to its previous loving state.

Moses not only forgave the people, but also prayed for them. Not only did he pray for them, but when it came to build a copper snake in order to heal them, he paid it from his own pocket, even though the Jewish people should have paid for it, since they had the need for it. The forgiveness of Moses was a true forgiveness.

Let us try to truly forgive, like Moses.

Let us make an effort this week to forgive someone whom we have not forgiven until now, or someone whom we have not forgiven entirely. Thanks to the love and brotherhood amongst us, Mashiach will reveal himself speedily!

Shabbat Shalom!

Hanna

PS: Do you want to hear a story on true forgiveness? Read on:

There was once a wealthy man who did not have children. Having heard of the holiness of Rabbi Yitschak Meir Alter, he went to ask for his blessing. As he arrived, the line to speak to the rabbi was very long. The wealthy person thought that he was important enough to cut the line. When the helper of the Rabbi did not let him go through, the rich man got angry, slapped him on his face, and entered the Rabbi’s office by force.

The Rabbi, who understood what had happened, refused to listen to the rich man until he asked for forgiveness from his helper.

Having no choice, the wealthy man went to ask the helper for his forgiveness. The helper went inside the Rabbi’s office together with him and told the Rabbi that he will give his forgiveness under one condition: The Rabbi should bless the wealthy man with children.

The Rabbi, smiling with satisfaction, agreed to give his blessing, and indeed, the wealthy man had children.

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