Raboyseyee and Ladies:
As you well know, or should, after hearing it from every rebbe, rabbi and others, Yom Kippur does not forgive sins between man and man. Shoin, let’s not get bogged down with gender identity terminology but the bottom line is azoy: if you aggrieved your fellow man (or woman), or anyone else for that matter, you can’t just walk into shul, klap (beat) your chest while reciting a few dozen OSHAMNU’S (confessions) followed by hundreds of AL CHEYTS and be done with it. It’s not how the system works. As an aside, why we beat our chests when we should be knocking our heads -or other parts of our bodies, if you chap- for the stupid things we thought, said and did, ver veyst? Instead, we beat our chests?
Yikes, and let’s get real: the RBSO knows just who you are and why you behave as you do. After all, that’s how He made us. We are less than perfect and He is seemingly Ok with us as long as we try and also apologize at least once a year by fasting, confessing our sins, and by reciting the long list of sins committed over and again. During davening, and in raised voices, we repeat over and again the RBSO’s 13 Attributes of Mercy. Is that it? Not! Over the years, our sages added symbolic minhogim (customs) instituted to increase our chances of forgiveness. These include an increase in charitable giving. This of course symbolizes our attempt to buy our way out of the mess we created.
Others waive a live chicken over their heads hopeful of transferring their many sins onto the innocent unsuspecting chicken. Exactly how that works, ver veyst?! The bottom line: over the past 12 years we have written about each of these practices; those interested should click here www.oisvorfer.com and search for Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur -so we were taught- does forgive sins you committed against the RBSO. There are many pisukim to quote as back up. Your slate, efsher clean as you left shul last Yom Kippur, is shmutzig (soiled), perhaps filthy, all over again. But lucky for you, the RBSO is about to give you another chance to get your act together. Says the heylige Toirah (Vayikro 16:30), azoy: “For on this day [Yom Kippur] He shall effect atonement for you to cleanse you. Before G‑d, you shall be cleansed from all your sins.” Is that it? What could be better?
Ober, let us not forget the massive amounts of hurtful things that came out of your mouth this past year. The number of people you gossiped about, slandered and worse. What could be worse? Not much! Oy vey! And -as mentioned, when it comes to sins you committed against your fellow man (or woman), our sages tell us that you must ask for and receive personal forgiveness. How far does one have to go to seek such forgiveness? Very! Our sages teach us that we should reach out to them and seek their personal forgiveness. In fact, we must make three attempts to appease the aggrieved party. Afterall, how can we expect the RBSO to forgive us if we’re not willing to give someone a second chance?
On the other hand, why apologize? The bottom line: We apologize because what the RBSO desires most is for His creations to exist in harmony. Says Rebbe Yehudah HaNossi azoy: so great is the pursuit of harmony that even if we prayed to idols, but were at peace with one another, the RBSO would ignore the idolatry worship “because there is peace between them.” Did he mamish say that? So says the medrish (Bereishis Rabbah 38:6).
And what to do if you’re the aggrieved party? What if you are mamish really angry with someone because that person really betrayed you? Secrets you shared with him were passed on? Monies he told you would be repaid were not? The list goes on. Must you forgive that person if he/she hasn’t apologized? Our sages teach as azoy: you should present yourself near that person’s house in the hope that she/he will see you when leaving, remember that you were taka pissed off and be moved to walk over and apologize. Grada just this morning in shul, the heylige Ois told someone to apologize before Yom Kippur and that I’d be on the lookout for him outside my house. He responded azoy: what time do you get up? 6:30 AM I told him. He responded azoy: be on the lookout at approximately 7AM. We shall see.
Ober, let’s get real: who does that? And what to do if that person lives out of town? What if the traffic in your neighborhood is so giferlich that you might lose precious time you need at the mikveh to purify your body before Yom Kippur?
The bottom line: while the methods prescribed in the Shulchan Oruch (Code of Jewish Law) -and other sources- were written before trains, planes, and automobiles, with the help of Al Gore, today we have faster means of communications. We have cell phones -kosher and not- and the heylige Internet which allows for FaceTime, zoom and myriad other means of reaching out to touch someone. Of course, inappropriate touching may have gotten you into trouble to begin with, if you chap, but that for another day. We can text, WhatsApp, email and more. Again, let’s get real! You’re likely too embarrassed or too lazy, or somewhat reluctant, to make the call. Your ego won’t let you; inertia has set in. Ober raboyseyee, Yom Kippur is mamish days away; we need to make amends. What to do?
Thankfully, the heylige Ois is back in 2022 with his annual Shtar Michila (forgiveness form). Does it work? Why not? Forms were created and designed by our sages to improve quality of life issues. Reconciliation is a life quality issue. Just last week, we featured the Pruzbil which allows us to collect debts after a shmita year. Other forms include the sale of your chomatze to the unsuspecting goy, and the Heter Iska (a form that allows one to accept interest on loans by calling the interest profit sharing). Gishmak.
Of-course forms work! Credit for those forms goes to Hillel, a forward thinker by the name of Reb Menachem Mendel Avigdors (a rabbi in Poland back in the mid to late 1500’s) who was the first ever to introduce the concept of the Heter Iska -though others reduced it to writing and take credit for his work, and to the Bach for allowing the sale of chomatze to the goy. Ober, back some ten years ago, the heylige Ois introduced a brand new form, his own Shtar Michila (form of forgiveness) which will certainly make your life so much easier in the days before Yom Kippur. Perhaps it should be adopted and canonized. At a minimum, both sender and recipient will have the opportunity to diminish the tension; you won’t have to cross the street when you see the other person coming towards you.
And the good news? Just as the offending individual is enjoined to sincerely seek forgiveness, so too, the victim is expected to wholeheartedly forgive—provided he/she is assured that the plea for forgiveness is indeed or somewhat sincere. To gain proper michila in 5783 for sins committed in 5782 and earlier, simply follow these very simple instructions.
PRE YOM KIPPUR MICHILA (FORGIVENESS FORM):
WHO SHOULD USE THIS FORM?
ALL SPEAKERS AND FACILITATORS OF LOSHOIN HORO AND OR RICHILUS. In other words: EVERYONE!
- Note: MAY ALSO BE USED BY THOSE WHO LISTENED TO THE ABOVE, AND MAMISH ENJOYED HEARING THE GOSSIP. CAN ALSO BE USED TO SAY I’M SORRY TO ANYONE ELSE YOU PISSED OFF DURING THE PAST YEAR -OR YEARS, INTENTIONALLY OR NOT.
III: THIS FORM MAY –AT YOUR OWN RISK- ALSO BE USED IN LIEU OF FLOWERS AND OR JEWELRY BETWEEN HUSBANDS AND WIVES, PREFERABLY YOUR OWN!
COMPLETE ALL FIELDS
1- Sinner’s Name (you!) ____________________________
2- Sinner’s Cell # (yours)___________________________
3- Sinner’s email address (List all email addresses used during the past 12 months to bad-mouth a friend, relative, business partner, your rabbi, and including those you barely know__________________________________________
4- EMAIL ADDRESS OF THE PERSON WHOSE FORGIVENESS YOU SEEK
(List person(s) you aggrieved and from whom you seek forgiveness). Use a new form for each recipient. Use extra sheets if necessary.
5- LIST YOUR SPECIFIC SIN AGAINST THE PERSON
What I specifically said or wrote about you. Attach copies of any and all emails, text messages, and anything that you wrote, exchanged and or forwarded about another friend, relative and others, here___________________
5a- In the space below, also reduce to writing the various lies you told your creditors about the monies borrowed but never repaid. ____________
YOU ARE ON A ROLL; LET’S COMPLETE THE FORM AND COME CLEAN
Name of offended goes here: ________________. I owe you an apology. And I also want you to know that I Googled you mercilessly and then took great delight in forwarding any and all schmutz to all on my email list.
6- CIRCLE THE APPROPRIATE BOX:
How many times I bad mouthed you in the past year:
whenever the opportunity presented_____________ whenever your name came up in regular conversation____________.
7- I am sorry!
ADDITIONAL NOTE TO THOSE OFFENDED:
8- We are in this together.
9- I am indeed guilty as charged for being the conduit for others reading, receiving and then further forwarding the schmutz I dug up on you, and though I mamish had fun at your expense, though I mamish did bad, I beseech you and ask that you offer me michila (forgiveness) in order that the RBSO will go easy on me.
10- Why should you consider my request and offer complete forgiveness? Because it’s likely the case that you did the same: you too are guilty of disseminating loshoin horo. Don’t be walking around like a victim! If you don’t forgive me, you are nothing but a hypocrite and the RBSO should punish you severely. Moreover, I will tell everyone on my email list that you are bad!
11- I am willing to forgive you if you forgive me. Shoin!
12- Thank you
Wishing you all a Gemar Tov and an easy fast-
The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv