There is someone in my life who hurt me (emotionally) very badly in the past. This person has long since changed her behavior, but not because of me specifically. I am pretty sure this person does not understand that she hurt me to such a deep extent.
As a result, although this person reaches out before Yom Kippur each year to ask forgiveness in general, she hasn’t apologized or asked for forgiveness for this specific issue. Without that, I don’t feel like I can forgive her, but I haven’t brought it up because I think it would cause her severe emotional pain to know how her past behavior affected me. In the meantime, each year it is very hard for me to go into Yom Kippur with this issue unresolved between us. What should I do?
Hard to Forgive or Forget
Dear Forgive and Forget,
Oh my, how Hashem must love you! He has given you the opportunity to achieve greatness. A person who can overlook the hurt done to them and no longer carry the burden is forgiven for all of their sins. The deeper the hurt, the more difficult to forgive, the greater your reward. You should use this opportunity before Yom Kippur to put it all behind you. Easy? No.
It is important for you to understand that she isn’t the one who hurt you. Hashem decided for whatever reason that you needed to be tested. She was merely His agent. Why you? Why her? Why this? You may never understand why. But based on how deep was the hurt, that’s how great the test is and how great will be the reward for overcoming it.
So now, you forgave her, but is she “forgiven”? The answer is no because she must still ask you to forgive her. But, in your greatness, you have already indicated that you don’t want to hurt her by revealing the depth of the hurt you endured. So here is my suggestion.
Befriend her. Send her a small gift for the holidays. Strike up a conversation. Perhaps in passing something will be said to remember “that time.” Let her know in no uncertain terms that you forgive her. But add, “I would feel much better if you would ask Hashem to forgive you also.” If she becomes indignant, chances are you wouldn’t have gotten an apology anyway. More likely, if she cries along with you, well, then, you will know how to take it from there.
Tizku leshanim rabot.