Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Bringing G-d Into - Apologizing
By Aryeh Ben David

My family has been living in a wonderful small town for 20 years. Sharing births, weddings, happy, and sad events together, with friends and neighbors for as long as we can remember. Then – something happened and things started to break down. A small inconsequential disagreement with someone began to escalate.

This person blew up at my wife and insulted my children, one by one. I responded in kind. And during the month of Elul no less, as we were approaching Rosh Hashana.
This left me in a terrible quandary of not knowing what to do. They behaved horribly, and certainly I had not been a saint.

But the question I kept asking myself was: Should I apologize – or not?
On the one hand – absolutely not. If I apologize – they’ll think they were right. Doesn’t that compromise the honor of my family? They started it when they blew up to begin with. What exactly am I apologizing for?

On the other hand, they seem to be suffering now – closing themselves inside their home, fuming with anger. Maybe there are other things going on in their lives that I do not know about? Maybe this was just the straw on the camel’s back for them?

My wife, ever the peace-maker, advised me to apologize. The kids, advocates of uncompromising truth, said absolutely not. I had no idea what to do and it began to eat me up.

Finally, after listening to my wife and kids one more time, I decided to listen to my own inner voice, the voice of my soul, which was so confused over this. What was G-d trying to teach me through this aggravating and exasperating experience?

And I came back to the words I say every day in the morning prayers. “Blessed are You, G-d, who graciously offers a lot (ha’marbeh) of forgiveness.” “A lot.” The prayers don’t say that G-d offers “a lot” of wisdom, or health, or livelihood. Just “a lot” of forgiveness. There is something about forgiveness that necessitates “a lot” – more than what seems needed or appropriate, more than we can imagine.

How could I say these words each morning and then not try to bring them into my life? It was time to forgive. So I went over and apologized. It wasn’t easy. I wish I could say that this dispute had a happy ending and everything ended up fine. I can’t and it didn’t, at least not yet. Life is not so simple. But it did remind me that this is a time to especially focus on forgiving “a lot.” We’ll see what happens.

I've struggled with this one...I wish I could be the "bigger" person - but.i.can't. Not now....not yet.....


Yoli said...

You were the bigger person. Proud of you Mr.Man.

Kristy said...

Hi Rony I just wanted to let you know that I am still here watching you and the girls. They are so beautiful and growing up so fast. We are still waiting for our Franceska, but it wont be long now. I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you.

Love and blessings, Kristy

Newly Nalevanko said...

I miss you Ronald! Happy 2010 lady! :) xoxo!

Rachel Gutana said...

This is an interesting post on forgiveness. I am currently struggling with this issue with some other family members. The bottom line is that it is easier said than done. Whatever your situation is, I hope that eventually you will find your peace, as I do with myself.

Take care.