Yom revi'i, 9 Tishrei 5769, Erev Yom Kippur.
I saw one of those human interest stories on Jerusalem Online the other day. Sort of a random "man in the street" interview about Yom Kippur. People were asked what bad things had been done to them in the past year. There were various responses, from the general to the specific. A few people expressed such happiness with their lives that they could think of no one who had wronged them.
Then the interviewer apparently asked the same people what they had done wrong in the past year. The responses were interestingly patterned, and in some cases, disturbing.
Those who had felt that the world had not wronged them were consistently able to name some thing that they had done wrong. "Maybe a little lashon hara, which I try not to do," said one jovial woman, looking embarrassed. "I'll try to get better about it." Thus expressing the three-part Jewish formula for teshuva, repentance: owning the mistake; expressing regret; and sincerely stating the plan to improve the behavior.
Others mentioned -- on camera, and with no apparent remorse -- such "little naughties" as getting drunk (this from a twelve-year-old), and from a middle-aged man, having a relationship with someone who is married. I felt very sad for them, and for their families and friends who might have seen the interview.
But the most troubling of all were those who felt they had been wronged, but who themselves didn't wrong anyone else. "I don't do bad things," was said by two of these interviewees.
To those whom I have wronged through a careless or flippant word: I'm sorry.
To those whom I have wronged through neglect: I'm sorry.
To those whom I have wronged by being less than honest in any dealings: I'm sorry.
To those whom I have failed to give the benefit of the doubt: I'm sorry.
And to those whom I have hurt without my knowledge: I'm sorry.
(There's a lot more to type... but we all have things to do before sunset... Please feel free to let me know of any specifics.)
I really will try to improve my behavior. And if you think you did something wrong to me, you should know that I forgive you. May we all be sealed in the Book of Life. I so want to be there to see the Geula, hand in hand with you. May it be very soon!