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Study and Theory/
Yom Kippur

The Laws of Repentance

Maimonides, the Laws of Repentance, Chapter B

9) Teshuvah and Yom Kippur only atone for sins between man and G-d; for example a person who ate a forbidden food or engaged in forbidden sexual relations and the like. However, sins between man and man; for example someone who injures a colleague, curses a colleague, steals from him, or the like will never be forgiven until he gives his colleague what he owes him and appeases him. It must be emphasized that even if a person restores the money that he owes the person he wronged, he must appease him and ask him to forgive him. Even if a person only upset a colleague by saying certain things, he must appease him and approach him repeatedly until he forgives him. If his colleague does not desire to forgive him, he should bring a group of three of his friends and approach him with them and request forgiveness. If the wronged party is not appeased, he should repeat the process a second and third time. If he still does not want to forgive him, he may let him alone and need not pursue the matter further. On the contrary, the person who refuses to grant forgiveness is the one considered as the sinner. The above does not apply if the wronged party was one's teacher. In that instance, a person should continue seeking his forgiveness, even a thousand times, until he forgives him.


10) The obligation to forgive It is forbidden for a person to be cruel and refuse to be appeased. Rather, he should be easily pacified, but hard to anger. When the person who wronged him asks for forgiveness, he should forgive him with a complete heart and a willing spirit. Even if he aggravated and wronged him severely, he should not seek revenge or bear a grudge.

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