Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Forgiveness: Yom Kippur 5773

A close friend told me that William Shakespeare once wrote (in King Richard II, Act 5, Scene 3) "If thou do pardon, whosoever pray, More sins for this forgiveness prosper may." Which is a fancy way of observing that forgiveness increases sin. I mention this in relation to the Jewish concept of "t'shuvah," or "turning." It's not enough to regret our transgressions, nor even to vow not to repeat them. Our job is to reflect on them, to learn and grow from them, and then to avoid repeating them.

Yom Kippur is a "fast day" (no, not that kind of fast). Frankly, I've always found that term to be the textbook definition of an oxymoron. I used to say to my fellow participants "may you have an easy fast." I no longer do that: after all, if it was "easy" then what's the point? Now I wish them a "meaningful fast."

I think that's much better.

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