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Asking for forgiveness via E-mail

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Topic: Forgiveness, Asking Via E-Mail

Ed Truitt from Denver wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

We raised an interesting question over lunch today and would like to know your answer. Is it permissible to ask for mechilot (forgiveness) over an email network rather than in person? I know it's not preferable, but many of us work in large networked environments. We considered the option of sending it receipt-requested to a specific address rather than an all-points broadcast


Dear Ed,

There are two components in achieving forgiveness from someone we have wronged. One is the initiative of asking for forgiveness; the other is the granting of the forgiveness. Ideally, we try for both. Nevertheless, a Jew says in his pre-Kol Nidre confession that he forgives anyone who wronged him, and prays that Heaven will inspire others to forgive him as well. An E-mail request for forgiveness achieves at least this much of an effect - and even more.

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