Rosh Hashannah Resolutions -- and how tough it is to forgive

Do you forgive?

Jack Engelhard

OpEds Jack Engelhard
Jack Engelhard
צילום: מתוך האתר האישי

There are no crowds cheering the ball coming down at Times Square and nobody sings Auld Lang Syne for our Jewish New Year...which comes up shortly. 

But on this we’re about the same – on Resolutions to never do it again for whatever we did wrong, and from us, to beg forgiveness from God and Man, and to do whatever we can to improve ourselves. We don’t call it Resolutions. Reflection would be the better word. Prayer to wash away our sins would be the perfect word.

The one big trouble during the High Holy Day season, for me at least, is that it’s the perfect time to face our imperfections, which can be perfectly awful.

Throughout the liturgy, we are asked to recognize our sins and transgressions. The list is long and the rabbis covered everything from A to Z. There’s no weaseling out of it; from deception to immorality to scheming to lewdness to disrespect to gossiping to coercion to lying to scoffing to bragging, yes, yes and more, we did it all.

In one form or another, we are guilty – and then there’s the one that gets me all the time, the one about causeless hatred. 

We’re taught that the Second Temple was destroyed for sins that were not really big, but simply because the people, or perhaps only the leadership, were discourteous to one another. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you think about it, it’s big enough. 

I wonder if anything has changed. 

Within the family itself, I mean those of us who are fully and honestly within the Zionist camp, there are disputes, jealousies, “improper thoughts” and petty grievances. I could name some of those responsible. I could name some experiences that were quite personal and disturbing. But that would be “talebearing.”  

I could tell stories that make you wonder how we all got on the same team when in fact there’s such lack of fellowship. 

Now wait. On the whole, for sure all of us in it together pull our weight and make a difference. For the Sake of Zion we are not silent.

So credit ourselves where credit is deserved…and plenty of us risk our lives for the task at hand as to loyalty to the USA and perseverance for the safety of Israel.

I know and admire the many who do the heavy lifting.

But back to “improper thoughts” – who can say, not me? Wish I could. But I can’t. Yet we are warned against “keeping a grudge.”

That’s a tough one. I mean, how about you? Or am I the only one who occasionally remembers a particular insult…without fondness?

One such moment comes to mind and it came among “friends.” Something tells me we’ve all had such moments. Do you forgive?

I’m not even talking about our real enemies – Hamas, the PA, the UN, the NY Times and all of that obvious trash. If you can forgive them, be my guest.
As I’ve written previously, Forgiveness is a Tough Sell. 

I’m not even talking about our real enemies – Hamas, the PA, the UN, the NY Times and all of that obvious trash. If you can forgive them, be my guest.

I’m talking about the heimish crowd, people on our level, and the wounds we inflict upon ourselves. Can’t say I’m quick to forgive.

But I am working on it, which is what the High Holy Days are all about – coming clean.

That, and second chances. That’s the beauty of the Jewish Religion; over and over again we’re given another chance to get it right. 

If only we can keep it up after we leave the synagogue. 

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva. Engelhard wrote the international book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal” and the ground-breaking inside-journalism thriller “The Bathsheba Deadline.” His latest is “News Anchor Sweetheart.” He is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website: