Religion & Beliefs

Dear Anonymous… I’m sorry

I’ve gotten a little caught up in name-calling this week… and I’m feeling sad about it. Because I was weak, and gave in to the impulse to bicker without any real purpose or logic.  I got angry.  Generally, I try … Read More

By / February 28, 2007

I’ve gotten a little caught up in name-calling this week… and I’m feeling sad about it. Because I was weak, and gave in to the impulse to bicker without any real purpose or logic.  I got angry. 

Generally, I try not to engage in this manner, especially online.  It only succeeds in hurting us all.  And I want to apologize for contributing to that… but…

This incident reminded me that in Judaism, the apology is really important (and a little complicated), so I thought I’d share this gem from Maimonides today:

"What constitutes complete repentance? He who is confronted by the identical situation wherein he previously sinned and it lies within his power to commit the sin again, but he nevertheless does not succumb because he wishes to repent, and not because he is too fearful or weak [to repeat the sin]. How so? If he had relations with a woman forbidden to him and he is subsequently alone with her, still in the throes of his passion for her, and his virility is unabated, and [they are] in the same place where they previously sinned; if he abstains and does not sin, this is a true penitent" (Mishneh Torah, "Laws of Teshuva," 2:1).

And here’s more on fogiveness:

"The repentant sinner should strive to do good with the same faculties (does a blog count?) with which he sinned…. With whatever part of the body he sinned, he should now engage in good deeds. If his feet had run to sin, let them now run to the performance of the good. If his mouth had spoken falsehood, let it now be opened in wisdom. Violent hands should now open in charity…. The trouble­maker should now become a peacemaker" (Rabbi Jonah Gerondi, thirteenth century).

So, bearing these quotes in mind… I nwant to say this…

To all the anonymous posters who are upset by intermarriage… I’m sorry if I was snarky or mean. Moment of weakness.  It was petty of me to pick on your grammar. It was small of me to forget how personal this must all feel to you. 

I do understand that this issue is hard for you, and that you take Jewish continuity very seriously.  I still don’t agree with you, but I didn’t need to insult you, and I’m sorry. 

Forgive me?