A Reader Writes: Forgive and Forget


forgive-forgetDear Editor,

As we approach Yom Kippur, we know that we’re supposed to forgive others for anything wrong they may have done. Yet, for many, this can be very hard. We may come across people who may say or do things that hurt us, sometimes very much. There are some of us who find it hard to forgive a principal or teacher we may have had. Sometimes it was due to a teacher’s oversight or a forgotten promise. A teacher may have been unfair or unnecessarily strict. Maybe we’ve had a teacher who was critical, always picked on us or punished us more than we deserved. Understandably, it is hard to forgive, even if many years have passed since we were hurt.

Maybe that teacher didn’t realize how much it hurt. Maybe he or she thought that classrooms were supposed to be run a certain way and didn’t know how to properly handle a situation that didn’t go the way he or she had in mind. We might say that such a teacher shouldn’t have been teaching in the first place since those unwanted middos can sometimes show up in the classroom, even though the teacher is probably a nice person otherwise.

At times, we may walk away feeling bad about what we’ve said or done. When someone hurts us, however, we may find it hard to forgive.

Don’t you think the other person feels or will eventually feel bad too, wishing that it didn’t happen? Don’t you think that other person wants to be forgiving too?

That teacher who seemed to be out to hurt you, embarrass you, and find reasons to punish you, may be a very experienced teacher now; caring, sensitive and considerate of his/her students feelings.

Often, a teacher may feel terribly about how his/her former students were treated. He or she may even wish to ask for mechila but doesn’t know where you are or exactly who you are.

Maybe, despite the fact that asking for mechila is respectable and brings peace, those people who have hurt you don’t have the courage to ask. Maybe they feel even more pain than you do because they cringe inside every time they think of you?

It’s a big achrayus to have the key to someone else’s Olam Habah in our hands. We wouldn’t want the key to our Olam Habah to be in someone else’s hands. So, even if someone hurt our feelings many times, can’t we find it in our hearts to forgive? We will have more menuchas hanefesh when we forgive than if we harbor pain in our hearts.

In the zechus of this ahavas chinam, may we be zoche to see the building of the third Bais Hamikdosh, bimheira b’yomeinu, amein!


D. K.


  1. I hear this “forgive and forget” thing but nobody explains how it is done. I may want to forgive and forget and I even may say words to this effect but I can’t forget. I can’t get the resentment out of my system. When someone did an avla totally unprovoked, even laughed in my face, and never felt the need to ask forgiveness, how am I supposed to forgive him?

  2. Everyone makes mistakes.

    Everyone deserves mechilla AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT CONTINUING THE HARMFUL BEHAVIORS. If they continue to do the behaviors they feel they need to ask mechilla for, then NOTHEY DON’T DESERVE MECHILLA. They look at mechilla as a feel-good thing to ask for while still patting themselves on the back that they were right. As Rav Hillel Belsky said, “I’M SORRY OFTEN MEANS: I’M SORRY I GOT CAUGHT”.

    People who are hurt get hurt more with insincere apologies. You can’t expect bygones to be bygones and demand mechilla for something you truly plan on continuing. Echta V’Ashuv is one of the two exceptions to the Tefillah Zakah pronouncement of forgiving all who wronged you.

    If what you did wrong caused FINANCIAL LOSS (terminated for false cause based on rumor/innuendo, counseling sessions, etc.) obviously the one who did wrong is not going to get the mechilla he is dreaming about.

  3. What about when you confront the teacher, and he refuses to admit he did anything wrong? That’s what happened to me.

  4. I am a teacher and I have had to be strict in my class. There was one particularly chutzpahdik girl who would not stop talking, and I often had to call her name and tell her to stop doing the things that were distracting. I know she hates me. I was single when I started teaching, and sometimes I thought that her hatred was interfering with me getting married. B”H I am married now, but I shudder when I think that there is someone out there who really doesn’t like me and really feels I’ve wronged her.

    From the teacher’s perspective – you cannot imagine how difficult it is to control a class unless you’ve been there. For all of you who harbor negative feelings against former teachers or rebbeim, please be dan l’caf zechus. Maybe it was her first year and she didn’t know how to teach. Maybe she was having a bad day and your not-so-innocent comment touched a raw nerve.

    But aside for being dan l’caf zechus, please take responsibility for your actions. If you are mad at a teacher for “picking on you”, yet you ALWAYS talked during class, passed notes, and disturbed, then she was not picking on you! She was doing her job and you have no reason to hate her. Get over it.

  5. #3


    Rule #1 of receiving mechilla is admitting guilt. If the person FEELS they were right, you deserved it, etc. THEY DON”T DESERVE MECHILLA. It is obvious that they have no remorse for their actions and are most likely still doing their behaviors.

    Such people need the keys to their Olam Habah locked under the person who was harmed control.

  6. A teacher once did something to me that was just stupid. But it showed something that was rude, nasty and completely wrong. (cant get into detail)

    On the other hand, I remember one of my teachers once saying that the teacher ALWAYS feels bad for what they did/have to do.

  7. In my case, a Rebbe I had consistently embarrassed me in front of the class. I told him how I was teased after because of it, and he refused to stop. One of my parents, with close to 30 years in chinuch, told him it was wrong. His response was, “I guess I just have a different derech than you when it comes to chinuch.”

  8. DEAR YW

    i have had alot of years of sucess in chinuch one of the reason is that i hold very strongly a pupil that has a problem needs to be invited by the teacher for a shabbos meal you will see a huge change trust me may you continue to bring light to the world full of darkness and water to those that are thirsty.

  9. #9:

    it’s right b4 yom kippur! obviously #7 is still upset by it and has every right to be. it’s not so simple to always just “get over it”