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September 07, 1990 - Image 71

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-07

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A Toast
To Jewish Living

Mending, Rather Than Mincing, Emotions



Dee Anne Ginns-Gruenberg is a
registered nurse and family life
educator and the author of this
month's To Our Readers. For each
issue of L'Chayim, a rabbi, Jewish
educator or other notable will
present an overview of the month's
"Making Up Is So Very Hard To
Do" are lyrics that ring true for
many. Painful innuendoes,
accusations, and comments blurted
on impulse are combustible
combinations which ignite family
tensions. Feeling immediate
compunction, yet not sure how to
remedy the situation, too often we
walk away or pretend it never
happened. Defensiveness,
withdrawal, and angry outbursts are
frequent negative outcomes of
In this Rosh Hashanah season,
when our thoughts turn to
repentence and resolve for self
improvement, who is right and who
is wrong become moot points.
The goal is to mend rather than
mince emotions.
Contrary to Love Story's famous
line, love does mean having to say
you're sorry for transgressions.
Excuses rather than apologies do
not help matters. A sincere apology
indicates that you care. It includes
an admission of wrong doing, an
explanation of why one erred, and
an intention to avoid repeating the
mistake. Avoid justifications and
placing blame for misdeeds.
Respect that it may take those
who have been wronged time to
accept the words of contrition.
Forgiveness itself is an art. The dual
emphasis on happiness and
humility during Rosh Hashanah
speaks to the importance of
accepting another's apology.
Comments like "I know it must
have been difficult for you to
apologize" or "It means a lot to me
that .. ." are helpful.
During this period of reflection

For Holidays

and self examination, though
forgiving a particular action may be
difficult, let us strive to forgive the
When we actively listen, we
recognize value and merit in family
members' differences. Rather than
seeing disagreement as a signal of
weakness, it may provide an
opportunity for growth. Looking at
the issue from another person's
viewpoint may add a new
Expressions of honest feelings
must be encouraged with no threat
of repercussion. When one hears,
"You shouldn't feel that way," it
doesn't make the feeling go away;
rather it gets buried. When we

The words of an author, little
known except that his name was
probably Samuel, seem to capture
the spirit of the penitential prayers
which we know as Selichot: "On the
outgoing of the Sabbath we first
approach you. Incline your ear from
above, dweller amid praises, to
listen to the cry and the prayer."
On Saturday night, September
15, or more accurately Sunday
morning, September 16, Jews
around the world will flock to the
synagogues and ask the Almighty
for forgiveness in preparation for
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Usually around 1 a.m., the voices of
cantors can be heard chanting the
familiar melodies of the High Holy
Day services ... tunes that unite
global Jewry in a return to their
Creator. What are these Selichot
prayers? From where did they
The Hebrew word Selichah
means forgiveness and its plural,
Selichot, refers to prayers of
forgiveness. These prayers may call
upon us to consider our destiny or
purpose; they recall the martyrdom
of our ancestors dating back to the
patriarch, Isaac, and implore the
Almighty to forgive us for their sake;
they are pleas that the Most
Merciful show compassion for us
attempt to "reconstruct" others we
and all of His people. But the
do them a grave disservice.
essential parts of the Selichot are
Appreciate the uniqueness and
Confessional . . . for without
individuality of every human being.
of fault there can be no
Feelings should never be
forgiveness ... and the
discounted. The vignette in which a
God is merciful
small child runs to his parent's
of the
room during a thunderstorm, depicts
this point. "Mommy, I'm afraid," he
Many of these special prayers
cries. "No, you're not," Mom
the form of liturgical poems
informs him. Then with a stroke of
highlighted by their rhyming
brilliance, the four year old asks,
Others are alphabetical
"Well, if there's nothing to be afraid
acrostics with each line, or two
of, then what am I doing here?"
successive lines, being placed in
Neither should one be exempt
alphabetical order. The authorship
from expressing angry feelings.
of the Selichot is attributed to a
Where people live or work
wide range of authors who lived
intimately, conflict will occur.
Continued on Page L-2
Continued on Page L-2

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