President’s October 2023 Column

“You Are Forgiven …”

As the gates were closing on Day of Atonement this past week, I tried to remember the regressions I have personally had the past year.

A few years ago, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, I sent an email to a mentor of mine asking for forgiveness for any sins I may have committed against him the past year. He replied immediately that I did not have any reason to ask for forgiveness. He did not know of any transgressions I committed against him.

As I thought about this, I wondered what would happen if someone does not forgive you. I called a friend of mine who is an Orthodox Rabbi and asked about what happens when someone doesn’t forgive you. We talked about it, and he explained Jewish law states that the person who did wrong should ask someone three different times for forgiveness. If you are not forgiven, you are no longer considered accountable for the wrongdoing. You can even go as far as after the person passes away, inviting a minyan to the grave to ask forgiveness. At least at this point, there wouldn’t be someone to deny forgiveness.

Even though Yom Kippur was a day of fasting, repentance, and self-examination, it isn’t supposed to be a sad day. We gathered to break-the-fast as a congregation and had a great time and meal. Thanks to all who helped put it on.

Finally, thanks to all those who showed up to help build the Sukka. The Sunday school children did a great job decorating it. It is wonderful and if you contact the Rabbi, I am sure he will allow you to shake the lulav and etrog (or even spend the night in the Sukka)!

I will continue to ask you to participate, donate, be an active member of OUR CONGREGATION, our family.

Brian D. Cohen