Thursday, August 8, 2013

Elul thoughts

We just started the month of Elul, a month of introspection and repentance before Rosh HaShana. Every year we have Elul. Every year the shofar calls us to de teshuva. Every year we enter Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, trembling before the king of kings. And every year, after Yom Kippur, we enter Succot with the assumption that we have been forgiven. "If your sins were like scarlet, they became like white wool".

When 7 yo was three, he was in preschool while I was working. With his intense personality, one day I got a report from the teacher (a strict older lady) that he kicked her. I was mortified. I spoke to him and told him to apologize. When we met up with the teacher and my then 3 year old, said sorry, she retorted back: "Sorry is not good enough!" At that point I was exasperated: what am I supposed to teach my child about apology, if his apology is not enough?

Somehow Elul comes every year. Somehow we sin every year, and we have to ask G-d for forgiveness. Does he respond "sorry is not good enough"? Does he remind us of all the misdeeds that we've done in the previous years, asked for forgiveness and then continued doing? Do we get proverbial lightning bolts as we deserve? No, we assume that as long as our teshuva is sincere, and our vidui (confession) is sincere, that
G-d forgives our sins.

If Hashem has infinite patience with us, like a father with his sons, how much more so for us, parents, to have more patience and compassion with our children? It is so easy to mistrust them, and remind them of previous misdeeds. It is hard to forgive their wrongs. It is so much easier to lecture. It is so much harder to believe their repentance and resolutions to do better.

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