My life mentor is Eva Kor. She has an incredible story.
She and her sister were tortured in Auschwitz as part of the twins experiments by Dr. Joseph Mengele. Almost none of the twins survived, but this is Eva and me, at the camp, in front of a photo a photo of us, at the camp, in front of 10-year-old Eva being liberated in 1945.
50 years later Eva returned to the camp and publicly forgave the Nazis. Including Dr. Mengele. She thought — you've taken 50 years of my life, but you won't take one more day. For Eva forgiveness was an act of empowerment. A choice to let go of anger. Today she is joyous and radiant, the first to jump up and dance if we hear music.
Sitting in Yom Kippur services a few days ago, I got stuck on a passage quoting Ben Azzai:
"Treat no one with scorn...
for all people have their moment...
Diamonds, when found in the ground,
may look like worthless pieces of glass.
It takes an expert to see the precious gem that is hidden within.
Become an expert in human being.
Learn to see each one as a diamond in the rough."
I know it's easy to get angry. People act badly all the time.
But what if we decided to live lightly? What if we didn't take things so personally? What if we constantly chose to forgive?
What if we carried no burdens?
Jewish people begin the New Year now. Maybe we can all do something new.
What if we chose to forgive, completely, one person?
What if we chose to forgive one thing about ourselves?
How does that feel?
Meditation makes it easier to make mindful decisions like this. I hope you join us Tuesday for a meditation with the incredible Ally Bogard at The Standard, East Village. These meditations keep getting better and better as the community gets tighter and friendlier - to people who join often or for the first time. If you haven't been in a while, come join us to see.
Snag a spot for Tuesday's meditation here.