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The zakkah prayer is often recited right before Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur. It reads in part: “I extend complete forgiveness to everyone who has sinned against me, whether physically or monetarily, or who has gossiped about me or even slandered me.”

Such prayer can be healing. Asking God for the strength to forgive. Also reading the literature of forgiveness can be inspiring. Joseph Telushkin’s “You Shall Be Holy: A Code of Jewish Ethics” can offer guidance. So can reading in the mussar (ethics) of the Jewish tradition.

How can you move forward when forgiveness won’t come?

Ask, be in touch with the person, take a first step. Where there is no dialogue, there is no forgiveness. Where there is contact, there is the possibility of further progress. Most important perhaps, ask yourself what steps you can take now to work toward greater forgiveness in your life? Write about what you might begin doing now and in the future.

–David Wolpe

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