They say, “You can’t take back your words.” However, when we begin relating from a deeper level, those words are gone. They came from a much more shallow place. This is forgiveness.
So you get pulled over by a cop, right? And he starts writing out a ticket. And so you beg him for mercy. Come on, I didn’t realize, I have so much on my mind, it’s been a long day. I’m never speeding. Forgive me, forgive me. Have mercy.
Who invented forgiveness and where does it come from? I mean, it makes absolutely no sense. There’s a law, 65 miles an hour. You were speeding, you get a ticket. On what merit should you be forgiven?
So, you know, it’s like two friends, two friends, you know, when they’re little kids one insults the other. They don’t talk to each other for a few years. But when they get older and they bump into each other again and, Oh, you know, that little incident that happened when we were kids, you know, it’s irrelevant. Suddenly it’s irrelevant. What happened? Suddenly, they’re forgiving each other. What happened, actually, is, that they’ve reached a deeper place. It’s like, sure, you insulted me over here but now we’re here. It’s a whole different place. When you can get down this deep, what happened up there, you know, on that external level really is not relevant, it doesn’t bother me, it does not get in the way of our relationship.
Look at a husband and a wife or any two friends and one, you know, they insult the other, they hurt them, they’re offended and they’re very upset, they’re very hurt. And so they go out, you know, they spend a few hours together and they sort of get back together. Like, what happened? Forgiven. Oh, forget about it, it’s fine, it’s totally fine. What happened? Because their relationship is so much deeper, it’s so much deeper. They’re so deeply connected. But, you know, when one offends the other, it hurts. But when they did get back to that deeper place, they sort of override what happened. That’s why the deeper the hurt the harder it is to forgive. It’s not easy to get deeper than that. The more offensive it is, the harder it is to forgive. But there’s always that essentially deep place where two people who have a true connection, such as in a marriage, have such a deep and profound connection that if you can just get there, forgiveness can be achieved.
And you know what, this is exactly what Yom Kippur is all about, the day of atonement. G‑d says, you know, you did, you did, you hurt our relationship. Maybe you did this, maybe did you that. But you know what G‑d says, We’re so much deeper than that. You know, we are so much deeper. We have such a deep and profound connection, that shouldn’t get in the way of our relationship.
But here is what G‑d says. Forgiveness, we have to reach that deep place. And G‑d says, Yom Kippur I’m there. Yom Kippur I’m there. You know that ‑‑ the day of Yom Kippur itself is such a holy day. What does holy mean? That G‑d’s presence is so deeply felt; that is, G‑d is on such a deep level that day in such a revealed way that automatically certain basic sins are immediately atoned for without having to do anything, just the day itself atones for them. Right?
But then as we get to sins which are not that simple, G‑d says, You have to meet me there. You have to meet me there. We have to be there together. You meet me in that deep place on that deep level, forgiveness. Not because I have to do anything, G‑d says, it’s just that we reached such a deep level that what you did becomes insignificant when we’re there.
And so on Yom Kippur we have to give the day of atonement some consideration. And we say what does “atonement” mean? Actually, I once heard someone say atonement is actually at one meant. It’s becoming one and becoming one is very deep. So when we connect with G‑d on that level, we’re forgiven because it’s so much deeper than the place where we sin. All G‑d wants is to be at one. And you know what, all I want, all we all want, really, is to be at one with G‑d.