Question:

  1. Is there ever a case where a person should not ask Hashem for forgiveness? Such as, if what they did was so terrible they know they will never deserve forgiveness and it’s a chutzpah to ask?
  2. What if the person they hurt cannot be approached for forgiveness, either because they want no contact anymore with the one who hurt them, or because they are sick or chas vshalom passed away? What if the sin involved an enormous Chilul Hashem? Should the person pray for help to improve but still accept that they should not be forgiven? It seems that forgiveness itself would sometimes be a source of shame, if it is so badly undeserved?
  3. Does Hashem have mercy on people who DON’T ask for forgiveness, and forgive them anyway? Is a person forgiven even if they cannot accept Hashem’s (or another person’s) forgiveness? If the person stays unforgiven, can they still be close to Hashem and keep growing? Thank you.

Answer:

  1. There is no such thing as a sin that is too big for a person to ask for forgiveness! Even Achav and Menashe, who caused a tremendous chillul H-shem and a tremendous amount of avodah zara, davened to Hash-m did teshuva and were given mercy. Therefore such a concept does not exist. As long as a person is alive H-ahem waits for him to do teshuva and ask for forgiveness.
  2.  A person that hurt someone else very badly and he is afraid that by approaching him and asking him for forgiveness, that his approaching in person will make matters worse, he should ask someone else to ask the other person for forgiveness. In situations like this, it will not be a one step process, because the hurt is deep. The person should first try lowering the animosity level, and slowly appease the person so that he will forgive him.
  3. A person that doesn’t ask for forgiveness, is in a way showing that he doesn’t care about the aveiro that he did, and in most cases it isn’t forgiven. Nevertheless a person can still be close to H-shem, and he can still keep on growing, however the less aveiros the person has, the closer they can be to H-shem.

Sources:

  1. PIrkei D’rav Eliezer 43.
  2. Mishna berurah 606-2.

Tags: asking forgiveness repentance

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