Dear rabbi!

What to do if you offended another Jew, but he cannot or does not want, is not ready to forgive you?



New York, USA

It is incumbent upon each of us in such cases to make the best possible attempt at reconciliation. To do this, you must sincerely ask for forgiveness, explaining that you understand the essence of your wrong behavior.

If the offended person does not forgive, you must ask for forgiveness again. And even a third. And if he still has not forgiven, you can stop efforts in this direction. The exception is situations when a person offended his parents or his teacher of the Torah. They have to ask for forgiveness and a thousand times until they forgive.

This is the correct scheme. But life is made up of many nuances. Therefore, I will offer an updated version.

1. You should not ask for forgiveness at a time when the offended person is in such an emotional state that does not allow him to listen to you. Wait a few days or weeks.

2. After the first attempt, postpone the second to the beginning of the month of Elul, and do it before Rosh Hashanah. Remind the offended person that we all ask God for forgiveness and need His forgiveness. And if we do not forgive each other, how can we ask forgiveness from the Creator?

3. Ask for forgiveness a third time on the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Invite him to “whitewash” your deed, just as the Creator promised to “whitewash” our actions. In the event that we correct our behavior. Explain to him what you have corrected yours.

4. It must be remembered that if you offended a person by inflicting material damage on him, before asking for forgiveness, you must compensate for the damage.

If the damage was moral (humiliation in front of other people), it is necessary to think over a plan to eliminate this damage (for example, talk to witnesses of the insult) and show him that this plan has been implemented.

5. Laws of the Torah do not allow us (in almost all cases) to hold a grudge against another Jew. Therefore, the one who does not want to forgive, as it were, transfers your offense to himself, and you are cleared of it. Of course, provided that you have completed all the necessary steps indicated above.

Lyricist Eliyahu Essas