forgiveness

forgiveness

How does one leave home in peace?

Passover, which begins on Monday evening this year, can offer some clues to answering this most universal of questions. But when I left Israel at 18, determined to start a new life not as a Jew but as a human being, I wasn’t ready to receive them.

On February 6, 2012, I was at work in Delaware when I got a call from Mom in Arizona. Dad was worse, she said. They’d called in hospice.

I hesitated. I was already planning to visit at the end of the month. Did I really need to drop everything — to miss the board meeting of the organization I work for? I phoned the nursing home where Dad lived. Yes, his nurse said. It won’t be long now — maybe hours, maybe days.

I first began to gain a kind of respect for the revenge impulse in human life when we worked, in the early days of this program, on a show about the death penalty. I came to understand that revenge was the original “criminal justice system.” For most of human history, prior to the rule of law, prior to structures of justice that transcend the messiness of human interaction, the threat of retaliation has been a primary tool humans possessed to pursue justice and also to deter cycles of violence.

The poet Elizabeth Alexander once asked, “What if the mightiest word is love?”

Michael McCullough describes science that helps us comprehend how revenge came to have a purpose in human life. At the same time, he stresses, science is also revealing that human beings are more instinctively equipped for forgiveness than we've perhaps given ourselves credit for. Knowing this suggests ways to calm the revenge instinct in ourselves and others and embolden the forgiveness intuition.

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Two thoroughly humorous and enriching animated shorts on teshuva (repentance) + slicha (forgiveness) from artist Hanan Harchol

A nourishing story of forgiveness, mercy, and redemption. Yes, StoryCorps does it again.

The director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project connects the dots between compassion and vulnerability.

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