As we celebrate the High Holy Days 2019, the message of forgiveness resonates. G-d erases our sins that we have committed before G-d but does not erase the sins we have committed against our fellow man. It may seem easy to say, “I forgive you,” but are we really forgiving, or just going through the motions? Forgiving someone is not always easy. We tend to focus on the impact that someone’s actions had on us and cannot see that perhaps the person that wronged us is not so bad – that they had a bad day, or that they truly did not mean to hurt us. We have to focus on the good that all people possess if we really want to forgive someone. It is important to forgive for so many reasons. It allows us to forget the past and focus on the future. It reaffirms our faith in G-d because if we ask G-d to forgive our sins, then we should certainly be able to forgive others. We not only forgive for others, we do so for ourselves. When we are not saddled by the baggage of anger, we allow ourselves to “do good”.
As Hadassah Greater Atlanta’s President, I represent over 3,500 women in the Greater Atlanta area and some of the outer counties. Hadassah’s main focus is to raise funds for medical research, raising awareness of medical advances and treating people regardless of race, religion or gender. Although the research takes place at our Mt. Scopus and Ein Kerem hospitals in Israel, treatments and the knowledge gleaned from that research is used globally. Our cancer, neuromuscular disease and stem cell research is among the best in the world. In fact, our cancer cell slide library is the largest in the world. This list of accomplishments just scratches the surface. With all this, it is no wonder Hadassah was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and has been referred to as “The bridge to peace.” We are Tikkum Olam in action.
Accomplishing these amazing contributions takes time, effort, focus, knowledge and money. If we are bogged down with anger and resentment and other negative feelings and carry that baggage from day to day and year to year, we are holding ourselves back and we cannot focus and concentrate on making this world a better place. Do yourself a favor, let it go. Grant forgiveness to someone that deserves your forgiveness, and forgive yourself as well – you deserve that much from yourself. And with a clear mind and renewed sprit, you can move forward in life and make a positive impact for yourself and others here and around the world.