Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Right now is the Jewish month of Elul, the month to really concentrate on teshuva, usually translated as repentence - turning around. Teshuva is an active process, one that begins by asking for forgiveness, and then laboring to undo as much of the harm done as possible. It is in seeking the forgiveness of our neighbor that we seek the forgiveness of God. The rabbis teach that if someone comes to us asking for forgiveness, that we should grant it, helping to set their feet on the path of teshuva.

I was reminded of this last month when someone I knew sat there with my husband and me at the coffee shop and asked for forgiveness. What I was surprised by then was to discover that I'd already given it, that somehow, I'd opened my heart before the request had been put into words, though it had been put into actions. But that request did open up paths for us both. I was led to see how I could open up further peace from that apology, talking to others he had offended by the behavior, who were mostly offended on my behalf.

And I'm reminded of all the false steps I've made in my life. In Hebrew, the word "avera", most often translated as a "sin" or a "wrong" could also be translated "misstep," a step away from the path that we need to follow, a step away from fellowship, Love, community, God's embrace. I've written before that sometimes I feel like I can't quite manage to stick to the main paths. While I have studied Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Paganism, and a few others, I can't seem to stay on the well-forged paths, instead haring off on little side-paths. Every now and again, I feel like I've gotten a bit battered on the side path - sliding in a patch of mud, stumbling on a stone, getting caught in the prickles. I frequently wonder if I'm being true to the Light which guides me or just being stubborn. Maybe it's a little of both.

In any case, I'm asking for help here. If through my words or actions in this forum or any other you might know me from over the last few months or even years, I have hurt someone or offended them, please help me back onto the right path by giving me the opportunity to apologize, to try to make right any wrongs which I may have done.


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