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The Moment: Living Higher

“The order is meant to teach you that teshuvah is the key, and once someone embarks on teshuvah, then his tefillah and tzedakah are that much more effective”

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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The visitor to Rav Chaim Kanievsky didn’t come bearing a new sefer or question in learning — he came weighted down by his problems. 5777 was a rough year for him, and he’d suffered in areas of parnassah, chinuch, and health. He was desperate for a brachah. Rav Chaim smiled warmly and assured him that the old gezeirah has already been torn up and replaced with better times, but added a thought:

“In davening, we say that teshuvah, tefillah, and tzedakah have the power to erase an evil decree. Really, any one of the three is sufficient, but the order is meant to teach you that teshuvah is the key, and once someone embarks on teshuvah, then his tefillah and tzedakah are that much more effective. Accept upon yourself to do teshuvah in a certain area, and may your tefillos and tzedakah stand by you for a sweet new year.”

5 Out of 10 

Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin

Help me complete this Top Ten list. I’ll start with the first five

Submissions welcome to

Top 5 Ways NOT to Ask Mechilah

Saying I’m sorry is never easy. Here are five phrases to avoid when apologizing, so you don’t have to say I’m sorry again.


If you want to really say you’re sorry, avoid the word “if.” Statements like “I’m sorry IF I offended you” don’t convey true remorse and leave the recipient thinking, “Umm… yeah, but you did offend me!” Take ownership of your errors and skip the “if” so you won’t have to later apologize for your apology.


Unless you’re running for office, there’s no reason you should be incorporating this increasingly vogue political buzz word. Focus on what you said, not what you meant to say.


The best coldhearted apologies are short and not sweet. “I am sorry you feel that way” is an easy way of telling a friend you’re not so sorry for what you did. Once you’re saying “I’m sorry,” go the extra mile. You can be sure that after saying “I’m sorry you feel that way,” whoever you hurt is just going to feel worse.


This one is tricky. There was a famous dispute between the Chofetz Chaim and Rav Yisrael of Salanter whether you should apologize when the person doesn’t know you did anything wrong. Asking for such mechilah, reasoned Rav Yisrael, was prioritizing your forgiveness over the other person’s feelings. Whether to apologize for such misdeeds certainly requires added sensitivity. 


When I was in yeshivah there were always people who put up signs asking the masses for forgiveness. Nowadays those people send out mass texts asking everyone for forgiveness. When you get a barrage of impersonal mass texts asking for forgiveness, it’s too tempting to just send back a mass text responding “nah.” Shouldn’t apologizing be a little more personal? (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 679)

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