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Yom Kippur

The theme of Yom Kippur is repentance. At the New Year, we review our mistakes from the past and commit ourselves to new beginnings. Part of starting over is clearing the past record, which requires repentance.

Repentance for any transgression requires 3 steps for forgiveness from G-d:

  1. sincere regret
  2. commitment not to repeat the sin in the future
  3. confession, or viduy, which is verbally stating one's sin (privately to G-d, as in prayer)
In addition, for any sin which was committed against another, it may be required to ask that person's forgiveness. This is the case if any harm came to the victim of the transgression.

In the case of speaking Lashon Hara or Rechilut, the speaker should try to rescind his words by going back to all the people he spoke to and telling them he was wrong. If this is not possible or successful, he must ask the subject forgiveness for what he said. However, he might not be allowed to ask forgiveness if the subject does not know anything was said against him; this would depend in part upon whether the subject will be upset. We are might not be allowed to achieve our own repentance at the expense of causing another anguish. [Please consult a Rabbi versed in the laws of Shmirat HaLashon for any practical application of these laws.]

If someone listened to L"H or Rechilut, and even accepted it CH"V (heaven forfend), he does not need to [and possibly should not] ask forgiveness from the subject. He should, however, convince himself that the information is not to be believed. [Also note that if he responded to the speaker in a way that conveyed approval, he may have to approach the speaker and retract such approval. This is certainly the case if he added L"H to the conversation (i.e. "he did the same thing to me last week....").]

Best wishes to everyone for a g'mar chatima tova (favorable, permanent inscription for the New Year).

Ellen Solomon

Text Copyright © Ellen Solomon and Project Genesis, Inc.



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