18 Nissan 5779 / Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | Torah Reading: Acharei Mot
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Guaranteed Forgiveness    

Guaranteed Forgiveness

How would you like a spiritual insurance policy of guaranteed forgiveness; no matter what you might have done wrong, the Heavenly Court will grant an unconditional pardon, if…


Every person wants forgiveness from Above. But, to attain forgiveness from Above, one must be forgiving down here in this world.


A person who forgives the affronts done against him will merit that the Heavenly Court forgives him for anything he might have inadvertently done wrong. So, if you want to be forgiven - forgive! Everyone loves a person who readily gives in to others and forgives. And, if he's loved down here, it's a sign that he's loved Above. But, if the evil inclination incites a person to be unforgiving, then – measure for measure – Hashem will be unforgiving towards him. And, if the unforgiving person claims that he's justified, Hashem will make the same claim. If the unforgiving person still says, "Look what he did to me," Hashem will tell him, "Look at what you did to Me." Perhaps you think that the person whom you don't want to forgive is an ingrate; Hashem will tell you that you are the ingrate. It's enough that you think it - you don't have to say it.


Most importantly, be willing to forgive. If not, you become entangled in a vicious cycle of troubles. But, if you forgive from the heart, Hashem will do the same and forgive you, measure for measure, and you'll be cleansed of all sin.


Anyone who desires to expedite the Geula, the full redemption of our people, must sincerely forgive anyone who harmed him. The "Olat Tamid" writes that if someone caused you grief on a particular day and you forgive him, imagine in your mind that if you would encounter this person now, you would greet him warmly and shower him with all kinds of affection and friendship as if he never in his life saddened you. It is not enough to forgive; once we forgive a person, we must make an effort to treat him with warmth and friendship.


The truth is that with every person we meet, we have corrections to perform from previous incarnations. Someone was once hitchhiking and I gave him a ride. I smiled at him and spoke to him nicely. I wanted to ask him to forgive me but I was afraid that he'd scoff at me. Afterwards, I thought that it is a good idea to ask anyone you meet to forgive you, because there just might be some unresolved issue from a previous incarnation between the two of you. So, let's correct what we must correct in this lifetime and close the file, so it won't necessitate an additional reincarnation in order to rectify it.


A teacher told me that she has two girls in class who are creating terrible trouble for her. I told her, "Invite them to your home. Don't confront them directly. This is a soul correction for you, for you certainly must have something to rectify with them from a previous life. Perhaps you harmed them in some way. Everything is measure for measure – nothing is random. Don't think that if you are good-hearted that they will take advantage of you or torment you even more. These are the stories of people who lack a Torah outlook on life.


Do not war with them. Do good for them; show them affection and bring them closer to you. Forgive them, for they are unfortunate. If you don't forgive them, they're in for big trouble. Have mercy on them. You are an intelligent adult and they are senseless girls – you have the power to overcome."


The teacher heeded my advice and was witness to much improvement.


With the above in mind, our sages codified a prayer that everyone should say at night with the Shema prayer before he or she goes to sleep:


Master of the World, I hereby forgive wholeheartedly anyone who has harmed me, angered me or sinned against me, whether in bodily harm, monetary damage, an affront to my dignity or against anything else of mine, whether willingly or whether under duress, whether accidentally or on purpose, whether in speech or in deed, whether in this life or in any previous incarnation, for any son of Israel…"


In other words, I forgive any person, whether he is still present in this world or whether he has passed away…


"…and may no person be punished because of me."


I therefore forgive everyone wholeheartedly! Our great spiritual leaders ask each one of us to recite this prayer daily, with complete sincerity. You'll be glad you did.

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