I am human. I will make mistakes. That is inherent in my humanity. It's not always something pleasant to accept, but I accept it. To me, the most important aspect is learning from those mistakes and striving not to repeat them. It's about how we pull ourselves up and make ourselves better people. However, when mistakes are made, an apology is owed.
I don't believe in wishy-washy apologies such as, "If I offended anyone..." I believe in a simple apology without equivocation. I believe in two simple words: I'm sorry. I also believe that a person should apologize in the forum in which they committed a wrong. For private wrongs, one can apologize in private. For public wrongs one should apologize in public. Like everyone else, I have committed wrongs here, which is why I write this piece.
Today is Erev Yom Kippur. Tonight, Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement — begins. Kol Nidre will be recited in synagogues across the world before the holiday actually begins. Evening services for Yom Kippur will then follow. Tomorrow, many Jews, myself included, will spend much of the day in synagogue. Even more Jews will observe the traditional 25-hour fast. Finally, after 25 hours of holiday and fasting, the shofar will sound, signaling the end of the holiday.
Since Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement and marks the end of the High Holy Days (Days of Awe). They begin with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. During these days, while G-d decides our fate for the year, we repent for our wrongs. When I am in synagogue tonight and tomorrow, I will repent for my wrongs against G-d. That, however, will do nothing to repent for the wrongs that I have committed against fellow human beings. That requires reaching out to them and not merely praying to G-d.
This diary is in that spirit of repentance. It is also to reach out to account for those wrongs that I have committed here throughout the past year. I am offering my repentance for those wrongs. I do not seek to claim I will be perfect in the year to come. I know I will not. I know over the course of this year I will once again commit wrongs, as that is human nature, and thus, when this time comes next year, I will once again offer my repentance.
During this past year I have engaged in needless and pointless fights. I have let myself be reduced to simply making a point or simply beating the other side. Too often, like so many, I have let myself forget that there is another human being on the other side of the keyboard and that no matter how wrong I believe their views, much more often than not they are a decent human being who simply holds a different opinion. During the next year this will undoubtedly happen again, as I am only human and we find ourselves engaging in such games at one point or another. The goal is to try and minimize how often that happens.
As I stated last year:
What is in my power is to think even more before I make comments or write diaries. What is in my power is to reduce the number of times I let myself be caught up in this behavior. What is in my power is to control myself better.The past month, and these past ten days in particular, have been a time of introspection. It is a time when we look within ourselves and search for our faults. We see where we have made mistakes. We see what we can do to not repeat them. We seek to make amends and try and right our wrongs. While specifically focused at this time of year for Jews, repentance is a process that occurs throughout the year. Yes, we make extra effort to find our wrongs and repent for them right now, but that does not mean we should ignore the rest of the year.
Tonight, I will be in synagogue repenting for my wrongs against G-d. Right now, though, I'm sitting in front of this computer screen repenting for my wrongs here. To those I have wronged, I'm sorry. To everyone, Gmar Hatima Tova. May you and your loved ones be sealed for a good year. May you and your loved ones be inscribed in the Book of Life. May all those that are fasting with me tonight and tomorrow have an easy and meaningful fast. May the days that follow these Days of Awe be good and sweet.