Learn from HaKadosh Baruch Hu how to forgive

Behind the Flames, by Benzi Gopstein

Learn from HaKadosh Baruch Hu how to forgive
Last week I got a phone call from a young man from the center of the country. “Excuse me for bothering you”, he said, a tone of embarrassment in his voice. He called to get some advice about Reut (fictitious name), a girl he had been going out with for a while. After a few positive dates, Reut told him that in the past she had a relationship with an Arab, but now – after help from the Lehava organization, she broke off all contact with him. Despite this, he recoiled and he wanted to get some advice from me re whether to continue the connection.
I know Reut well: An excellent girl, a graduate of an ulpana known for religious Zionism, who decided to do National Service in a hospital in the center of the country. The service included intensive work with Arab nurses and doctors. During her service, Reut got caught up in an emotional whirlpool that one of the Arab doctors working with her knew how to exploit, and he started a relationship with her. But that same doctor only deepened Reut’s crisis and worsened her situation.
Baruch Hashem, Reut had good friends in the Service: They noticed their good friend’s dubious relationship, and they couldn’t remain indifferent; they came to Lehava, and with G-d’s help, within weeks of their approach, after many efforts, Reut left that lying doctor and moved to do her National Service somewhere else. She is now assisting us by volunteering with other girls. “Can you swear that you’ve never committed any sin in your life?”, I asked the young man. “Of course not”, he answered. I told him he should be grateful to HaKadosh Baruch Hu that he met someone who didn’t hide her past from him; on the contrary, she recognized her fall, and beyond that, she had a change of heart about it and she also helps other girls. I explained to him that this week we are entering the month of Elul, the month of mercy and forgiveness, when HaKadosh Baruch Hu accepts anyone making complete teshuva, and brings that someone close to Him. “If HaKadosh Baruch Hu forgives her, who are we to be more righteous than Him and not forgive her”, I told him.
One of the most difficult problems we run into in Lehava is the negative treatment of the girls who have fallen, but they also knew how to pick themselves up. With the arrival of the month of Elul, it’s important that we remember that just as HaKadosh Baruch Hu accepts us, beloved boys and girls, who make teshuva before Him, we, too need to accept those making teshuva in love and who want to open a new page in their lives.This is our activity in Lehava every year.
In my new column here, in the Matzav HaRuach weekly, I will try to explain a little to you of what is being done behind the flames; I’ll touch on difficult and complicated stories that we are involved in; on success stories and on those which we still have not succeeded in; on the difficult dilemmas we face sometimes, and I’ll open a hatch that you will never hear about in the media.
(from Matzav HaRuach Rosh Chodesh Elul 5780/21 August 2020, p. 25)



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