During an interview in 1990, Oprah Winfrey heard a definition of forgiveness that changed the way she viewed the world. From that moment, forgiveness wasn’t about saying that what the the other person did was OK, or that it was all better, or that it didn’t matter any more.
“Forgiveness,” she understood, “is giving up the hope that the past could be any different.”
Whether we are talking about forgiving ourselves for something we have done; or someone else for what they have done to us or those close to us, it’s imperative that we recognize the power in doing so.
Without it, we move about the world (whether physical or spiritual) with a chain to a past that doesn’t help us grow.
In Judaism, there is a principal of “midah k’neged midah” – a personality trait is rewarded in kind. Courage with courage, falsehood with falsehood, generosity with generosity, spite with spite, Trust with trust, and so on.
In this month of Elul, we just take it upon ourselves to learn how to forgive, so that we have the hope of being forgiven.