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Forgiving Is Not a Commandment

12 0 16

Thank God the High Holy Days are over. We now have a year’s respite from remonstrations for forgiveness.

As a pulpit veteran, I often spoke about the need for forgiveness: to relieve the burden of anger and hurt accumulated in our lives. Forgiveness is a way to stop living in the past and begin to face the future – and while I believe this holds true for many, it does not hold true for all.

In his September 12 essay in The New York Times, Rabbi David Wolpe accurately and succinctly states that forgiving “steals the satisfaction of resentment,” and that there is a “savage self-righteousness to public shaming.” He is on the mark. There is an edgy-satisfaction in standing on the moral high ground and a dark enjoyment of playing the victim longer than necessary.

But he has forgotten nuance. There is no such thing as “cookie cutter” forgiveness, as the actions that would require it run the gamut. You cannot generalize. I learned this when I started working with the survivors of sexual predation.

Evan Zauder was a well-known youth worker in the Jewish community sentenced to prison in 2014 for, among other things, sex........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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