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Jews the World Over - Forgive Me!

By Tzvi Fishman
9/22/2009, 12:00 AM

The Rambam teaches that repentance and Yom Kippur only secure forgiveness for transgressions against G-d; as, for example, when one has eaten a forbidden food or indulged in illicit intercourse. However, transgressions against one’s fellow man, like cursing one’s neighbor or stealing something from him, are never forgiven until the injured party has been compensated and appeased (Laws of Repentance, 2:13).

The Rambam emphasizes: “Even if a person only annoyed another in words, he has to pacify the latter and entreat him till he has obtained his forgiveness” (Ibid).

This is an especially tough one for bloggers whose words go out to all corners of the globe. Go find the person you offended in cyberspace!

Now, I am sure I have offended many fine people who live in faraway places like Brooklyn and Toronto and Manchester and Australia and the Jews of Timbuktu. To mention only a few. So I would like to take this opportunity to ask for your forgiveness for the things that I have written that have caused you embarrassment, discomfort, and emotional and spiritual pain.

While my intention was purely educational, to alert my cherished brothers and sisters to a better, holier way of life, my sarcastic, bombastic, and often exaggerated style surely offended not a few, and for this I ask your forgiveness.

To judge my readers fairly, many simply have never had the privilege to learn Torah; or to have learned Torah in its proper perspective; and many are respectfully following the teachers who taught them things that I have taken exception to in this blog.

Whatever the causes for our disagreements, I apologize for presenting the Torah and the teachings of our Sages in a way that offended you. I am sorry if anything I wrote caused any of my brothers and sisters to have negative thoughts about the Torah, or about the Land of Israel, or about religious Jews, or about G-d.

As for me, I whole-heartedly forgive anyone who wrote something nasty or offensive about me in a Talkback. You don’t need to ask forgiveness – I forgive you carte blanche without your asking.        

It is my prayer to the Almighty that you, and all the people of the Brit, be inscribed immediately in the Book of Life for blessing, prosperity, salvation, and peace.