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!