Dearest Friends,

I have been struggling with how to address this awesome day, at this awesome time in history. I started with a rambling discourse that would be more suitable for a book. And then I received an email that brings it all into the perspective of the personal. So I post this awesome email (anonymously) and my response. I pray that it be usefull for one and all.

Shalom Reb Moish,

My guess is that you don’t expect to hear what I’m about to say here and now, and that’s alright. I didn’t expect myself to write this email up until several days ago. But now that I’m typing it there’s nothing more important for me then to make sure that you take this email seriously and don’t dismiss it as “one of those weird outputs” or as “orthodox Jewish holiday spam” or as one of the notorious “*****’s best of crap” emails. I’m 100% committed to what I’m saying here; I’m 100% serious about the need to write and send emails like
this one and I’m writing this text because I’m convinced that it’s the right thing to do. It is my modest hope to serve as a role model so that perhaps more people will take time and courage to say out loud what they never thought possible to express in tones, words and letters.

For now let this one email be an unusual guest in your mailbox. Consider it an unexpected sign; a pouring out of the soul of somebody who can’t agree with apathy and who’s had enough of the prevalent indifference of our time.

See, I transgressed my highest ideals, I sinned, I committed iniquity towards my fellow men by doing the following: I have judged rigorously upon everyone I met. In my heart I compared myself with others for the
sole purpose to find a weakness in them and by assumption that a person is only as noble as his weakest trait, to elevate myself over my fellow man and thus to feel better, higher, stronger. With that I have denied every person I met the right to have any flaw. I assumed to be the measure for all people, I subconsciously assumed to be perfect. I stopped to look for the positive traits of people, I stopped to just appreciate people the way they are, I did not judge people by their actions anymore, but I proactively looked for their faults and when I found them I exploited them for my personal psychological purposes. I committed the horrible transgression of
self-assured pride when I stripped down my fellow brothers and sisters to their core, and there was not one core that I have not found faulty, except of course my own. For me I had excuses, but for other people I had criticism and sometimes even worse. I assumed that because of my talents and potential I was indeed naturally better / higher / stronger then others. Because I’m so clearly aware of myself I saw in others only their limits and biases, and that is equal to gazing upon their nakedness.

In my lofty heights I subconsciously despised everybody without even being aware of it. For no reason but self-satisfaction and pride have I baselessly hated everybody whoever by virtue or coincidence crossed my way or remained in my life for a little while. I am guilty of baseless hatred and I’m sorry for it.

Behold, I regret, and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat these acts again. I have gained nothing from judgments over others. Through judgment I have not grown in any respect; I have not created a positive difference in my life but have instead damaged the whole world a little bit by not seeing the beautiful sites of people. By reducing people to their most apparent negative attributes I have predispositioned my responses to people to be reactions to those attributes. If, for example, I would behold a person choosing between several alternatives, I would hold it guilty of being dependent on other people’s opinions where I could and would have chosen sovereignly. My negative opinion about that person would from then on be fixed and would not change unless proven wrong several times. I would spurn that person for not being independent enough while I would assume that I can’t be subject to his / her “error” and am thus better/ higher / stronger.

I’m asking for forgiveness with sincere heart and outpoured soul. I repent from my sins and I want to be a better person and a better Jew. Please accept my apology and excuse my misdeeds. With Yom Kippur only
hours away, let’s rule off old sinful behavior and with the help of God begin a new year filled with pursuit of righteousness and personal growth.

All the Best,

Holy Brother,

The only question I have is why you are directing this email to me. I have not perceived nor personally experienced these tranrgessions. At least not directed personally towards me. And if there have been such judgments towards me, they did not reach a place inside that I have felt nor had a conscious impact upon me.

I do know of what you speak as my own transgressions in the past. I have worked dilligently to overcome them as I continue to do so. it’s a lifelong project. I have been forced by Heaven to abandon such judgments and expectations, as HaShem has involved me in so many of the life’s crises that afllict all to many in these times.

I have learned that our hardness towards others reflects a hardness to ourselves, usually because this was imposed upon us in the home we come from. And as I have learned to have compassion for and forgive those closest to me I have learned to have compassion for and forgive myself. With this comes acceptance of others failings and weaknesses.

You will experience though, a continuation of these on a feeling level. The job is not to put them into practice and working on that you will find the way to remove them from your heart. The idea is not to identify with the feelings. Just see them as conditioned feelings and let go of them as you as you become aware of them. You recognize there existence, acknowledge them, but do not identify with them as an authentic expression of your soul. In time you will see them lessened and you will find your natural love and compassion and mercy flowing though you. And then the big pay off. You will see HaShem directing you through all this. You will see that you had all this negativity as a gift venue to emerge as a higher being, more united with your soul.

I applaud and commend you and bless you to see that you are already on your way to redemption. And I further bless you to embrace this reality of being ‘on your way.’ Let it gladden you and give your heart and strength to continue with clarity and fortitude, encouragement and confidence.

May you have an easyt fast, awesome davening. Remember, Reb Shlomo says, “How do we know if our prayers were accepted on Yom Kippur? How much are we b’simcha at its conclusion?” I bless you to be b’simcha raba at the Yom Kippurs conclusion. Thank you for honoring me with this pouring out of your heart. it is a lesson to us all.

G’Mar Chatima Tova, Shana Tova U’Metuka, and Hatzlacha B’Chol Ha’inyanim.

With love, Moish