Middot of the Month – October-Joy (Simcha) Forgiveness (Selicha)
by Andrew Enoch
Joy is experienced when we are connected to our divine souls. “The greatest mitzvah,” writes Rebbe nachman of Breslov, “is to live in an abiding state of joy.” Doing mitzvot brings joy, whether, whether we are focused on serving the needs of others or dedicating ourselves to a divine purpose. The act of self-transcendence brings joy. Joy is both the origin and outcome of our most sublime thoughts and deeds. It enables us to reach beyond our small selves to connect both with our innermost being and with other beings. While depression closes doors, joy opens all the gateways. We cultivate this virtue by fostering an awareness of our deep interconnection with all Being.
Forgiveness involves letting go of the pain and hurt we have experienced at the hands of others. Being able to readily forgive oneself and others is a powerful virtue. Forgiveness releases us from the pain and resentments of the past, making it possible to heal and transform our relationships in the present. It is a mistake to think that we forgive for the sake others, rather, we forgive for our own benefit–to free ourselves from suffering.