Yom Kippur, the Five of Swords and Forgiveness: a meditation

Of all the prayer books in the world, my personal rabbi gave me the one for Yom Kippur: the Jewish Day of Atonement. A peculiar choice, given that it is Passover this weekend, but somehow my rabbi knew that this is the prayer book I needed to read.


We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. And I know for me personally – the most difficult lesson to learn has been not to hurt back when one has been hurt by another. 

It’s easy – to play that game, of who can hurt who more. A game where even when you win, you still lose. It’s that Five of Swords crap that only leads to more destruction. More heartache. More pain for everyone involved. AND IT NEVER ENDS. 

So this time around, I didn’t fight back. I bit my tongue. I withdrew myself from the situation. And I walked away.


I wish I had learnt how to do this ten years ago. I wish I had learnt to just walk away from those cups that would never bring my happiness and joy. It would have saved me a lot of grief. Instead I fought. I stuck it out. Tried to see some imaginary silver lining in a terrible situation. 

I finally came to the epiphany yesterday that it is only a person who is in a tremendous amount of pain that can inflict that pain on another. And whilst I don’t have anything I really want to atone for – there’s still people I need to forgive. Because if I do not do that, I will continue to suffer long after they’ve gone from my life.

If I return the hurt they caused me with more hurt, I will continue to cause suffering in a world that doesn’t need anymore of it.


Like I said – it is only a person who is in tremendous amount of pain that can inflict that pain on another. 

In that vein, I would like to share a meditation from my prayerbook. 

I hereby forgive all who have hurt me, all who have done me wrong, whether deliberately or by accident, whether by word or by deed. May no one be punished on my account. As I forgive and pardon fully those who have done me wrong, may those whom I have harmed by word or by deed forgive and pardon me, whether I acted deliberately or by accident. 

It’s easy to hold onto our pain like it is some badge of honour. It is easy to bear a grudge – especially one that is justified. But forgiveness is a better option.

According to Charles Klein:

“We forgive, not because we believe that what was done was unimportant, but because we are prepared to put aside our anger long enough to hear words which reflect remorse and regret, long enough to begin to believe that people have the potential to grow.”

Whether that person grows or not is not our problem. What matters is that we grow. And move on. And live our lives with a heart that is not infected by someone else’s pain. 

I’m hurting right now. But thankfully I’m old enough and seasoned enough to know that all pain is temporary. 

Someday the sun will shine in my life again. 


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