Sundown Tuesday begins the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom
Kippur, a holy day traditionally observed with a 24-hour fast and day of
To those whose religions call for weekly confessions, it may
sound sweet to bundle a year’s worth of transgressions into one marathon
apology. But it isn’t enough to just ask God for forgiveness, along with
promises to be a better person. I was taught, growing up in an observant
family, that one should also be asking the forgiveness of those who were
Sins large and small fall into that category. I truly feel
bad if I have hurt someone’s feelings, purposely or even inadvertently. Hurting
people is an occupational hazard, wearing any one of my hats, as journalist, manager,
teacher, spouse, parent, sibling, adult child, and recipient of telemarketing
calls. Not being a saint, I’ve had my mean moments, though they are relatively
few and far between.
This blog may not count in God’s accounting of deeds, but I’m
publicly offering this blanket apology to those who’ve crossed my path and
found me cross, thoughtless or unkind.
My father instilled in me his Rule No. 1 in life: Treat
people the way you want to be treated.
I will be spending Yom Kippur with him, and I will let him
know that the Golden Rule continues to guide my life.
His Rule No. 2, however, is equally useful for when the
first one doesn’t achieve the desired respect, understanding or empathy. To
paraphrase: To heck with ’em if they can’t take a joke.