Begging My Pardon
I nurse a very special bit of my disdain for my whoever came up with the idea of buying an Aliya for someone you want to appease. I can think of no more cynical a way of mending bridges with someone than buying something for them, in public, that they then have to come over to thank you for.
A Jew and a goy were once walking down a dark alley at night when they saw an evil looking character coming towards them. Petrified and convinced they were about to be mugged the Jew turned to his friend and said ‘let me give you that ten quid I owe you.’
Yom Kippur is the traditional time for begging forgiveness from all those you might have offended through the year. In this period we are reminded, by all and sundry, to get the forgiveness of our friends before we ask that of God. I must say though that God, in his infinite mercy and his well documented wish to spread forgiveness far wide, might be happy to hand it out at the drop of a hat. I am no God. My mercies are spread somewhat thinner and I do not feel inclined to be forgiving to the scroungers who wait until my moment of weakness, just before Kol Nidre, to come to ask for it.
It is not that I am not inclined to forgive anybody who might have slighted me. I do however expect those who want my forgiveness to really want it. Leaving it to the very last moment causes me at best to question the asker’s sincerity. I do admit that I too have on occasion felt pangs of remorse over some vestiges of bitterness that have accumulated over the year and have even at times had the inclination to go over to some in an attempt to pave the way to a better understanding for the future. I then have to weigh the advantages of getting my quick fix of sanctimonious glow versus the knowledge that whoever is on the receiving end of my magnanimity is probably feeling a lot like the goy in the alley.
So you guys out there who think you know who I am, learn this; If you do feel like appeasing me don’t come crawling before Kol Nidre because I will not reply. Just so that you don’t think I’m being unreasonable however, I will accept an Aliya on Yom Kippur as the best alternative in the circumstances.
Wishing you all a Gmar Tov and a very happy new year.