Tonight the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins.
The day of atonement.
The day we ask forgiveness from G-d.
After a year of intentional and unintentional misdoings.
And after a month’s long deep introspection and of asking forgiveness from our family, friends, and neighbors.
Since moving to Israel, I’ve made an effort, in the week leading up to Yom Kippur, to select three people from my community and approach them regarding anything I may have done, intentionally or unintentionally to hurt them in the past year.
Usually this conversation comes as a surprise to these people.
Perhaps because I select people that I am not necessarily close with and that may not necessarily even desire a close relationship with me.
Yet, I do so because there is something obvious in the air between us with which I wish to ease.
In the past, the conversations have been “successful”.
Whatever was in the air would somehow be cleared and we would “move on”.
Yet, I know I must have put these people in an awkward position, as I asked them to think of some specific incident that I may have done to hurt them in the past year that I can now apologize for.
It’s always the same response.
“Oh, you did nothing. Everything is fine. Really.”
I guess I always put these people on the defensive, without even knowing it.
That is, it was *I* that always was in control here.
It was *I* that chose the people.
And, *I* who initiated the conversations.
And, I would basically ask them to own up to their grudges without requiring me to do the same on my end.
This year, I had the experience of being on the other side of the boat.
Someone approached me.
Someone who I actually am close with (in a familial kind of way).
Someone who I thought I could never do any wrong towards.
Someone who I don’t even see on a regular basis, which therefore limits the opportunities for wrongdoings on my end.
And how did I hurt this person?
Not by a specific incident that she could put her finger on.
But, rather a general sense that I just stopped showing affection towards her.
Which apparently was expressed in my very few phone calls this year.
Just to check in.
And ask how she was doing.
But, instead, I “S”topped.
And listened to her hurt.
And, felt her hurt.
And, as she spoke, I “C”hose to see a different perspective.
I chose to look at the bigger picture in her life.
And realize perhaps, how lonely she may be, without ever really noticing that before.
Which made me realize that, I’m not perfect.
And that there was validity in her words.
That is, that I could do more.
Like picking up the phone, on a regular basis, to just check in with her.
To ask how she’s doing.
And show some affection.
And basic respect.
And, as I swallowed all of this, I felt so grateful.
Grateful that this person felt comfortable to open up to me.
Grateful that she spoke the truth.
Grateful that I was able to accept the truth.
And grateful because it made me realize that there very well may be another person in my world _______ (fill in the blank: parent, sibling, grandparent, parent/sibling-in-law, best friend, new friend, neighbor, cousin, aunt, uncle, etc.) feeling the same way towards me without me even knowing it.
And now, I can be more aware and be more proactive, if need be, in checking into some of my other relationships as well.
What a great lesson.
I couldn’t ask for more, going into this holiday.