Question:

B”H Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to help answer my questions.
Regarding asking forgiveness, ideally the other party says “I forgive you.” If I apologize to someone (an acquaintance or someone I don’t know very well but interacted with at some point) and they reply “there’s nothing to apologize for” or “you don’t have to apologize for anything” – would this satisfy my end of “getting forgiveness” from them? As they do not feel there is a wrong to forgive, would that be a sufficient reply (not requiring asking twice more in order to ask a total of three times) so that I am not obligated to contact them again? Thanks again.

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

If it is indeed true that the person feels that they weren’t negatively affected, then in truth you do not need to even ask them forgiveness. The general rule with asking forgiveness is that we only have to do so if the other person was negatively affected. However even we wronged the other person, but they were not affected by what we did, then it remains a mitzva bein adom l’makom, and there is no need to ask forgiveness. For example, if someone spoke lashon hora about their friend, but the person that it was said to, replied, “Ah! I don’t believe it!” and therefore the friend was not negatively affected, there is no need to ask forgiveness. Similarly, if someone stole something, and return the item before the owner even knew that it was stolen, there is no need to ask the person forgiveness.  The only thing is that you have to know that they are sincerely saying this, and not just, and not just telling this to you in order to push you off.

Best wishes

 

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