Tuesday, October 11, 2016

When is an Apology Sincere?

(Sorry for the slow pace of posts! It's been a wild few weeks of traveling the length and breadth of Israel collecting (and shechting) animals for my museum dinner this Thursday, and writing a book to accompany it!)

Erev Yom Kippur is a challenging time for me, because it's the anniversary of the ban on my books, the effects of which continue to ripple through to this very day, twelve years later. But I'm not going to detail the specifics of what happened today, because that would just depress everybody. Instead, I want to mention something else.

Why do people ask for mechilah (forgiveness) on erev Yom Kippur? Hopefully, the gravitas of the season has led them to genuinely reflect upon, and regret, some of their actions. But on other occasions, it's just a matter of people feeling good about themselves that they've fulfilled a religious obligation. I find that apologies that are issued when it isn't the aseres yemei teshuvah are usually more convincing. Here is a beautiful apology that I received a few weeks ago:
On a personal level, I would like to ask you mechila. I first read your book, "Sacred Monsters" when I was 19, I initially thought it was very good and my father who is a Rabbi told me it was fine. 

Then I went to Yeshivas XXXX where your name is less than mud. I became fanatically Charedi and spent a lot of time besmirching you and aggressively disagreeing with all that you said. 

However, over time I mellowed significantly, left the Yeshiva and now have a great respect for everything you have written in your blogs and in your books.

Now, that is someone whom I can wholeheartedly forgive! I know exactly what it is like to be brainwashed by a yeshivah into besmirching others, because it happened to me too. And I greatly respect this person for coming forward to apologize. Kol hakavod to him!

Wishing everyone a gmar chatima tova!


  1. Sorry for the slow pace of posts!

    How can we tell if this is sincere? :).

    Wishing you a sincere Chag Sameach!

  2. But on other occasions, it's just a matter of people feeling good about themselves that they've fulfilled a religious obligation.

    I don't think people apologize to feel good about themselves or to fulfill an obligation. People apologize in order not to come to the judgement being unforgiven.

    1. So you are saying it is even less sincere. They are fulfilling the obligation Shelo Lishmah (for fear of punishment).

    2. Not exactly. It's just this time of the year makes them recall things that they now regret they did.

  3. יישר כחך

    כמוהו ירבה בישראל

    שנה טובה

  4. Every person who insulted you should be asking mechila.

    You have saved many people me included from being lost in Judaism.

    Thank you


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