Almost thirty years ago, Rudy Tomjanovich was punched ferociously by Kermit Washington in an NBA basketball game, leaking spinal fluid as a result. There in the ICU he wanted to return and smash back in return. The doctor told Tomjanovich, “You have to get on a path to healing, and any negative thoughts are going to hurt you.” The star athlete reflected: “I was like anybody else. I had a lot of negativity in my life. Over the years, I’ve learned to look at life a different way. I had to. When I had to recover (from drinking), I had to have a psychic change. You have to change everything, from the inside out. I had to learn to get rid of resentment, anger, being a martyr, being a victim. I’ve learned to let those things go.”
And so it is with life. Teshuva (repentance) and forgiveness aren’t just about fulfilling some Yom Kippur ritual. They are about transforming ourselves and our approach to the world, so that our future encounters can be unencumbered, wholesome and holy.