I understand that you're supposed to forgive everyone before Yom Kippur. I was told that if I forgive others, G‑d will forgive me. Nevertheless, there are people I cannot forgive. I cannot forgive the teacher who ruined a whole year of my life in sixth grade. I cannot forgive my verbally abusive uncle who made me feel so small over and over. And there are things for which I cannot forgive my parents—even though I really do love them and appreciate them.

Does this mean G‑d will not forgive me either?


You've probably heard of the Jewish mother who serves her child broccoli and when the child says, "yuk!" the mother responds, "You will eat it and you will enjoy it!"

Well, Mom, if you insist, I will eat it. But no matter how much you insist, if I don't enjoy it, I don't enjoy it—and I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do about that.

Same thing with forgiveness: You can tell a person to hold his tongue. You can tell him to refrain from getting even. You can tell him to not even think about getting even. You can even tell him to do the opposite of how he feels by doing nice things for those who were mean to him—like how Joseph helped his brothers settle in Egypt, even though they had sold him as a slave.

But you can't tell him, "Thou must feel good about this person." He doesn't. Too bad.

So that's all forgiveness means: You don't do anything because of your grudge, you don't say anything to express your grudge and you don't even think about why you have a grudge in the first place. When it comes up in your mind, you just ignore it. You say, "Hey, I'm on an adventure through life, and the people with all the baggage have a real drag."

And now here's a little secret: Feelings are like plants. Don't water them and they wither away to dust.

So too, let your grudges go without any pondering for a short while and one day you wake up and the feeling is all gone.