The Hebrew word for forgiveness is S’licha. It is the word we use to apologize and ask forgiveness at the same time. This time of year, we should be doing a lot of requesting of forgiveness for the wrongs we have done to others and to God.
Though the preparation for the High Holidays began a couple of weeks ago at the beginning of the month of Elul, it takes on added significance beginning Saturday night September 12th with the beginning of the recitation of the Selichot, our prayers asking for forgiveness. We begin reciting them on Saturday night and continue reciting them early each morning through Yom Kippur. It is a chance to verbalize that which we have been hopefully been thinking in our hearts and minds.
We are excited this year to have a guest speaker that will be joining us at our Selichot service on Saturday night, Kasim Hafeez.
Here is his bio:
Kasim Hafeez is a British citizen of Pakistani Muslim heritage who grew up being exposed to radical Anti-Western, Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel ideas on a daily basis. During his teenage years Kasim embraced a radical Islamist ideology and became very active in the anti-Israel movement. Thankfully Alan Dershowitz’s book ‘The Case for Israel’ challenged Kasim’s fundamental beliefs and caused him to undertake a period of research and reflection that led him to Israel in 2007. Witnessing the true nature of the Jewish state changed Kasim’s perception of Israel. He felt a moral obligation to publically speak out for Israel and the dangers of radical Islam.
Kasim is a wonderful example of someone who took the idea of S’licha, forgiveness to heart and in turn helped make our world a little better because of it.
I hope you can join us Saturday night for some prayer and discussion to help us prepare for the high holidays.