Selichot: Looking Back While Moving Forward
Selichot is a time for forgiveness. During Selichot we repent our sins to get ready for the up and coming New Year. This repentance starts on the Saturday before Rosh HaShanah, through the New Year, and ends at Yom Kippur. Selichot literally means apologies, and we are supposed to confront our troubles that we had in the past year, specifically with the people who we have done wrong. It is not necessarily just about asking for forgiveness but also to forgive the people who have done wrong to us.
The following questions helped me to prepare for this time of repentance:
- What does forgiveness mean to you?
- How do you think you should go about asking for forgiveness?
- How do you think you should go about forgiving someone?
- What are some of the ways that you have sinned against someone?
- How will you change the ways you have missed the mark for this upcoming year?
- Do you think we should be open to apologies from people who have sinned against us? (Think if you were in their shoes) Why?
In my opinion, Selichot is the time where we need to take a look at the past year and evaluate ourselves. We need to reflect on how we have wronged others. When we have done that, we need to start thinking about how we will ask for forgiveness. Personally, I would go up to the person and be frank and honest with them and be genuinely sorry. Most times, the person will appreciate that and say not to worry about it. But this apology is not just for the person who you sinned against. This apology creates a sense of ownership. You screwed up... it happens. But you have to own up to what you did. I have let my friends down with my lack of responsibility. I have talked about others behind their backs and did not support them, for they are human beings just like us. I'm not perfect, and I know that I am the one who shares these sins. I also know that most of us have not apologized and taken ownership for our wrongdoings. For this next year, I plan on being more sensitive of other people's feelings and to apologize to the people who I have sinned against. I hope you all will join me in this journey of forgiveness.