The Last Discovered Diary Entry of Josef K
It’s kind of like Yom Kippur for me every day, actually, I am certainly guilty (that I know). Guilty of what, I can’t say. But I awaken with the thought: I am guilty. Perhaps on this Yom Kippur, I can apologize because I have learned there is a difference between asking for forgiveness from other people, and asking for forgiveness from G-d.
For aveirot — unfinished business, between human being and human being, Yom Kippur does not atone. That means I have to go to that person myself, and ask for forgiveness face to face.
For unfinished business between human beings and G-d, Yom Kippur does indeed atone. These are purely private matters, between G-d and myself, best taken care of with quiet, personal moments of prayer.
Now, let me go and find as many people as I can and say this to them:
“If I have done or said anything in the past year that has hurt you, that has offended you in any way, I am sorry. I am truly sorry.”
After I say that, perhaps I should stand and wait for a second with a look of expectation on my face. Oh, I am so hoping that the person will say, “yes, yes! I forgive you.”
However, they might say, “well, you’ve done nothing, nothing at all to me.” I’ll take that as a sign of forgiveness. That might be unsatisfying (for me anyway) since I am sure I have done something though what it is I cannot say. I don’t know.
Or they might say: you can’t hurt me, actually, I am not giving you room in my life to do that.
I will keep a tally, yes I will jot down a little chart, those who have forgiven me, those who have not forgiven me, those who don’t know what I am talking about, those who think I am nuts. Then I will take it back to my desk, and make a forgiveness chart.
Then I will spend some time in quiet prayer with G-d and ask for forgiveness for all the things that Yom Kippur does indeed atone for.
I will also make atonement to myself, for myself most of all, for dwelling (in what I call my mind) on those who I think may have offended me.