This is my blog for topics of general, Jewish interest, named for the magazine I launched in 2005. I have additional blogs for other areas. Follow on Twitter or on Google+ under Ariella Brown. Please note that comment moderation is on, which could keep your comment from appearing right away.
Monday, September 07, 2015
New Beginnings and Yom HaZikaron
The following is an extract from a post I put up last year.
Anyone who suggest that "forget and forgive" is what the month of Ellul is about completely distorts the way things work. The spiritual work of attaining forgiveness calls for a person to remember and then to forgive. We have to remember what we've done, not call upon others to forget it to feel exonerated. This is clear from the prayer service. There is a special prayer to be said on the eve of Yom Kippur in which a person declares s/he forgives everyone. However, those who think they can relax because the person harmed will make this blanket statement are specifically excluded, as are those who still owe the individual a debt.
One of the names of Rosh Hashan is Yom Hazicharon, the day of remembering. The prayer services are divided into sections devoted to kingship, shofar, and remembering. We try to focus on remembering the good things, but we know that we can't simply forget about the past that was not all it should have been. This is not a morbid idea but one of facing the truth and resolving to improve for the future. Included in that is the necessity for a spiritual accounting of how we've treated other people. Putting things out of our own minds does not necessarily put it out of the minds of those we have hurt. What we are supposed to do is remember and take what steps we could to remedy the situation and attain forgiveness.
Each year is a new beginning, but it is built on the past. Remembering allows us to fix the past to prepare for a better future. We should have cleared any bitterness to truly appreciate the sweetness of the honey on Rosh Hashana.