During this month of Elul, we are each called to do Teshuvah, to do the work of returning to our best selves by turning to each other and to God. But Teshuvah is not one thing; it takes different forms. Specific sins, mistakes we make and opportunities we miss, require specific kinds of repentance.
For sins between people and God, we ask forgiveness of God, pledging through Tzedakah (righteous giving) and Tefilah (sincere prayer) to reach higher and do better.
But even God does not have the power to forgive the sins we commit against other people. Only through acknowledgement of wrong by a person to a person can the sins between people be forgiven.
And so I turn to you, my holy community, and I apologize.
I know there are things that have gone right this past year and I know there are mistakes I have made, more numerous than I wish were true. If I have wronged you, I can only do Teshuvah by asking you personally your forgiveness.
It certainly isn't easy to apologize, and I know it isn't easy to say to someone "you've hurt me." But this is the work we are called to do this month leading up to Rosh haShannah. And it is a blessing to have relationships worth fixing.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I do hope that, if there is something that I have done that has hurt you, you'll find a way to
let me know, so that I can apologize to you personally.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…