Rabbi Ian Werbin on Forgiveness
Rosh HashanahCommunity

Rabbi Ian Werbin on Forgiveness

Rabbi Ian Werbin is the outreach coordinator and part of the rabbinic staff at Congregation Beth Jacob.

If you’ve ever read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” you will recognize this awesome passage where Stephen Covey confronts a man who says that he’s fallen out of love with his wife:

“Love her,” he says.

“You don’t understand.  The feeling of love just isn’t there.”

“Then love her.  If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”

“But how do you love when you don’t love?”

“My friend, love is a verb.  Love — the feeling — is a fruit of love, the verb.”

Stephen Covey is telling us to be proactive in love.  The question still remains, how do you do it?

“Love is giving to another.” – Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler

Rabbi Dessler asks in “Strive For Truth”: Does loving lead to giving, or does giving lead to loving?  Do I love you so I give to you; or is it the more I give, the more I love?

The Jewish answer is: The more you give, the more you love.

This explains why parenting, from the birth of a child and continuing for 20-plus years, is largely about giving.  This is also why a child can never love a parent as much as the parent loves the child.

Some have the custom on the High Holidays to wear white. The source for the custom of wearing white is from Jewish weddings.  Women traditionally wear a white dress under the chuppah, while men wear the traditional white kittel.  On a simple level, this symbolizes purity and holiness, however, it’s much deeper.  Scientifically speaking, of all colors black is the color that absorbs all light, while white reflects all light.  White symbolizes giving at the highest level. It takes in nothing and gives (reflects) everything.  To start and sustain a marriage successfully, one should put giving as much more fundamental and important than taking, hence the tradition for the bride and groom to wear white.  In John F. Kennedy’s historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

For those that have the tradition to wear white on the High Holidays and even those that don’t, remember that the real way to love is to start by giving.  If you feel that you’ve fallen out of love with your beloved ones as Stephen Covey describes above, remember that forGIVEness is rooted in giving!

read more: