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Forgiveness when it really hurts!


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 27, 5777
Now that it’s almost Rosh hashana I feel that I should be forgiving everyone. There is someone who hurt me this past year and this is the first time in my life I’m really having a hard time forgiving someone. I’m a very easy going person and I don’t hold grudges. This person was very close to me and I think that is why I am so hurt. I really want to forgive but I know that true forgiveness is much harder than one thinks. My question is do I have a responsibility to let this person know that she hurt me? Also what is my responsibility for forgiveness? Obviously the best would be to grant full forgiveness but if I need more time do I need to fully forgive her before Rosh hashana? Thank you :)
In general, forgiveness is after (!) the other person has asked for forgiveness, and they regret what they did and resolve not to do it again. After they ask forgiveness, it’s proper (!) to forgive immediately. If the victim still hasn’t forgiven, the offender must return 3 times, afterwards, and then the victim must (!) forgive (Rambam, Tshuva ch. 2). But it sounds like the offender may not even know that what she did hurt you. Here, there’s another issue of “lo tisna et achicha bilvavecha” )Vayikra 19, 17), that you’re not allowed to hate someone in your heart, but rather bring it out into the open, and tell them what hurts you. This is the only way to really iron-out such problems, and that’s what you both really want.
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