Rabbi Leib Tropper was invited to discuss certain parts of the character First program He is involved with, in Middletown, New York. I attended the discussion together with Twenty two participants who were ,for the most part, physicians. I tried to capture the Main parts and write it down. The topic was “apology”
Rabbi Leib Tropper opened the discussion with a quote from a respected British Historian And essayist : ” The Greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none”.(Thomas Carlyle)
This remark is profound. It however is not novel. The DNA of human existence from the Days of his creation on, is to be overwhelmed by temptation . It comes in various colors And degrees. Some by money , some by glory , some by self gratification etc…
In genesis the Biblical phrase is clear “for Man’s impulse is BAD from his youth” To be obstinate in the belief that man escapes wrongdoing is a violation of multiple Torah teachings. Though the Evil impulse is not indomitable the wrong doings of humans, Not born out of ‘evil’ are immutable facts.
Why don’t we readily apologize when we should? Well, sometimes one feels that ״apologizing” Makes them appear weak. That is fallacious thinking. The Great Teacher ,Rav Nachman writes That the “The wrongness of doing something wrong is not recognizing the ‘wrong'”.There is much strength in mobilizing the inner deep feelings to admit to the wrongness of one’s actions and apologize ,weakness only lies in the inability to galvanize that strength .
Another common excuse for not apologizing is the remark of Hubris ” I didn’t do anything Wrong”. For this absence of probity few remedies exist. The provincial mind doesn’t allow For the “bigness” required to live with the virtue of “apology”.
Part 1- written by David Gold