Mechila, translated literally as forgiveness, stands as one of the most profound and challenging aspects of the Yamim Noraim. Despite its challenges, people often manage to stay in shul for the entire davening on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, treating others with increased respect and fasting for over a day. However, approaching someone and seeking mechila often feels like a daunting task. Whether it’s the fear of rejection, confrontation, evading responsibility, or the struggles of pride and ego, requesting mechila from those we’ve wronged often finds itself relegated to the back burner of our busy lives.
Rabbeinu Bachya highlights the tragic fate of the ten martyrs mourned on Tisha B’Av, attributing it to Yosef’s failure to utter the words ‘I forgive you’ to his brother in Egypt years prior. This underscores the vital significance of seeking mechila.
Seeking mechila enables us to confront our past mistakes, paving the way for fewer errors in the future. It’s an acknowledgment of our imperfections and a genuine desire for self-improvement. Moreover, studies suggest that seeking forgiveness can lead to reduced stress, improved relationships, and an overall increase in happiness.
Hopefully, everyone can find the courage to seek mechila, be granted forgiveness, and have a truly transformative year ahead.