Saying sorry

It’s that time of year again, when I look back at the last 12 months and realise, a little, just how much teshuva I need to make.

Probably, the people I really need to apologise to aren’t reading this blog anymore, but let’s put it out there anyway, that if I upset or offended or hurt anyone this year – I’m sorry!

And please forgive me.

As always, I’m a flawed human being, and the bad middot tend to come out in ‘high pressure’ situations…. like regular life in 2023.

BH, I am really hoping next year will be filled with more optimism and joy than the last year.

And I’m also hoping that God will help me to be at least a little better, and a little nicer, and a little more understanding and empathetic again in 5784.

I have to admit, this year took me out in a bunch of ways.

Behind the scenes, it’s felt like I’ve kind of veered from one ‘crisis’ to another, one ‘big deal’ to another, to another.

There have been weeks and months where I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed, so tired, so despairing of the world…


I have a theory that you have a ‘taste’ of your year to come in Elul.

BH, so far, Elul has been by far the best month of this last year – and I am starting to feel some cautious optimism that BH, we’ve turned some sort of spiritual corner.


So, please forgive me if I hurt or upset you this last year.

99% of the time it’s not deliberate, and the 1% of the time it was deliberate, you probably did something to provoke it, so I also forgive YOU whole-heartedly, too.

Ultimately, most of us are just doing our best, interspersed with those moments when our yetzers come roaring out from under the bed and just make a mess of everything.


Also, if you sent me an email and I didn’t respond, please also forgive me.

I have had weeks and months of total information overload the past year, and if your email landed when I was in the middle of one of those, I simply didn’t have the bandwith to respond.

It wasn’t personal.

If I made you feel bad that I didn’t come back to you, please forgive me.


BH, God should overlook all our shortcomings, and give us a great 5784 totally as an undeserved present.

And BH, may we all cut each other tons of slack, understand that we’ve all been through some very trying times the last 3-4 years, and turn the page on all the upset and harsh judgements, so the good times can finally start to roll.


16 replies
  1. AK
    AK says:

    Rivka, I wish you both physical and spiritual health and all good things in 5784. Please continue doing what you do on the blog. I too feeling hopeful that next year will be a reallu good one. Shana Tova.

  2. yosef
    yosef says:

    i exaggerated, and omitted life-saving information, i was wrong, and i miscommunicated. i was off-topic, inappropriate, and wrote and said things which should not have been conveyed.
    BeEzrat Hashem,

  3. Simon
    Simon says:

    I have a “what to answer the heretic” question:
    In Bereshit 36:31 it says “And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel”
    But the Israelite monarchy wasn’t established yet.
    What is it talking about?

    • yosef
      yosef says:

      if the ‘heretic’ is jewish, i would refer them to a local kosher rabbi.
      ‘unlocking the secret of the erev rav’ by b. r. levy describes ‘the kings that reigned in the land of Edom’ early in the book, regarding the soul roots of the erev rav (if i’m not mistaken). it is worth reading. i don’t want to misquote it here, as i don’t have it on hand.
      sorry if this comment does not belong here.

  4. adelle
    adelle says:

    on the theme of anticipating good in the coming year I read this story translated to english in BRI’s “through fire and water”. it is a story from ma’asiyot u’meshalim which are the recordings of reb naftali who was a chossid of rebbe nachman and reb nosson’s childhood friend:

    reb noson was once asked: “seeing that mashiach still hasn’t come despite all the efforts of the greak tzadikim in previous generations, how can we, who are spiritually much weaker, expect to bring him?” rob noson answered with a parable.

    there was once a well-fortified city that was surrounded by a thick stone wall which everyone thought to be quite impenetrable. many of the world’s kings and rulers had tried to conquer the city, but found it impossible. all their soldiers were killed before they could even make so much as a dent in the wall. finally, a wise king came and decided to conquer this fortified city. after inspecting its fortifications, he sent his mightiest soldiers to bring down the wall. they pounded and pounded it, but could not break it, and before long they fell. the king sent a second wave of mighty soldiers, then a third, but to no avail. his army was seriously depleted, but the wall had not come down.

    even so, the king did not give up. once again he circled the city, inspecting the wall. “how can you expect to capture this city if all your mighty soldiers are gone?” he was asked. the wise king smiled. “the wall may still look as if it’s intact, but if you examine it closely you’ll see that in actual fact it’s on the verge of collapse. by now it’s so weak that even the few remaining forces I have, the sick, the wounded, women and children, will be able to bring it down.” the king then sent them into battle, and despite their weakness they were able to tear down the “impenetrable” wall and conquer the city.

    “who captured the city?” asked reb nosson. “the old and infirm?” how could they even have attempted the battle if the mighty warriors had been destroyed to a man? even if they had fought for thousands of years, the could never have brought down that wall! they won the battle because of the strength of the earlier, mightier soldiers. the same is true of us. we are weak, tired and drained. the earlier tzadikim – moshe rabeinu, rabbi shimon bar yochai, the ariz”l, the baal shem tov and rebbe nachman, indeed all the tzadikim – may not have succeeded in bringing mashiach, but they were able to crack the wall of obstacles that stands in the way. and because of this, now even we can mount the final attack and bring mashiach. -“ma’asiot u’meshalim” pp. 36-37, as translated in “through fire and water”

  5. Rivka Levy
    Rivka Levy says:

    האיש – nothing to forgive, at all. But thanks for taking the time to make sure.

    Simon – your question contains your answer, on the pshat level (there are very big secrets hiding out in these verses about Edom, and I’m not even going to pretend I can reveal them, even a bit, at least not without doing a massive amount of research first:)

    “before there reigned any king over the children of Israel”

    AK, BH, it will be a good 5784…. and thanks for the chizzuk.

    Adelle – beautiful! Thanks for sharing it.

    Yosef – these comments are fine…

  6. Simon
    Simon says:

    Thanks. Also, ‘B. R. Levy’ is Rivka (maybe you already know that)
    I was talking about why it mentions a king over Israel.
    But still interesting.

  7. Simon
    Simon says:

    I’m sorry because this is a silly question, but that’s what I’m thinking about right now..
    The question was why the Torah mentions a king over Israel when Shaul reigned hundreds of years later.
    (Also, possibly on a non-simple level it’s also talking about the Messiah)

    Have I said anything, by email or comment, that upset you this year?

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      The focus of the Torah, in many ways, is to ‘set the scene’ for the spiritual mission of the Jewish people, to help rectify the whole world, and be a ‘light unto the nations’ for the rest of humanity to return to Hashem.

      Edom is mentioned here, first, for it’s own reasons, but the FOCUS is Am Yisrael, and their mission to reveal Hashem’s light in the world.

      BTW there are no stupid questions, that are asked sincerely.

      Having what’s called a kooshia, or difficult question, on what the Torah is saying is part and parcel of trying to engage with it. The key, is to internalise that even with the biggest kooshia, it’s just a test of humility and emuna – to understand that at some point, our ability to really ‘grasp’ what is really being said in the Torah is very limited. That’s why there are 4 levels of understanding it, pshat,remez, drash and sod (PARDES).

      And the key to entering and exiting PARDES in one piece is tremendous humility, and emuna.

      Nothing to forgive you for either, Simon, thanks for asking. And if I upset you this year in some way, please forgive me.

  8. Rachel Erman
    Rachel Erman says:

    Rivka, I’m sorry that I probably offended you with my comments a while ago. Some of them were really rude and insensitive. Since then, I’ve been trying to work on my middos a lot. Rabbeinu once said, “In the future, people will be amazed at the love that exists between my chassidim.” I think all of us Breslovers have to make a concerted effort every day to get a little close to that vision, even if it seems entirely unrealistic right now. After all, Rabbeinu certainly knew what he was talking about!
    Kesivah v’Chasimah Tovah!

    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      So good to hear from you again Rachel.

      Thanks for taking the time to be back in touch here – we all say and do things from a place of ‘reacting’, me included.

      I forgive you for any hurt caused – and I hope you will also forgive me, I know I press a lot of buttons with what I write here, and at least sometimes, I could probably do a better job.

  9. yosef
    yosef says:

    i need to ask literally anyone reading this, mamash ‘kol haneshama’, to forgive me for my actions, words, speech, and thoughts. ani yosef hatati lhashem….


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