Asking For Forgiveness From Your Fellow
The Mishnah in Yuma 85b says that Yom Kippur can atone for one's sins; however, it does not apply to all sins equally. The Mishnah says that Yom Kippur can atone for aveiros bein adam l'Makom (between man and God), but cannot atone for aveiros bein adam l'chaveiro (between one man and another man) unless the sinner has appeased the man he wronged. This is derived from the pasuk in Vayikra 16:30, "mikol chatoseichem lifnei Hashem titharu."
The Mishnah in Baba Kama 92a says that regarding an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro, even if one returns the stolen object or repays for damages he has incurred on another, he is not forgiven until he beseeches forgiveness from his fellow. This Mishnah derives this halacha from a pasuk in Bereishis 20:7, "v'atah hasheiv eishes ha'ish…"
The Sefer Harirai Kedem asks the following question: The two Mishnayos are seemingly teaching us the same halacha, namely that in order to be forgiven for aveiros bein adam l'chaveiro one must appease his fellow. Why do the Mishnayos derive this same halacha from two different pasukim?
I had the privilege of asking my rebbe, Reb Shmuel Birenbaum, zt"l, this question before Shacharis on Yom Kippur a number of years ago, and he shared the following thought with me: According to several Rishonim, every aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro had two aspects incorporated in them: there is the bein adam l'chaveiro aspect and there is also the bein adam l'Makom aspect, since Hashem forbade this action. Therefore we need two pasukim to teach us that one is not forgiven for transgressing an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro until he has appeased his fellow – one for each aspect of the aveirah, the bein adam l'Makom and the bein adam l'chaveiro.
The Sefer Harirai Kedem offers a different approach in explaining the necessity for two pasukim. He explains that the two Mishnayos are teaching two different halachos. The Mishnah in Baba Kama is referring to the general mitzvah of teshuvah. In order to do teshuvah for an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro one must ask his fellow for forgiveness. To achieve this forgiveness, it would suffice if his fellow told him that he forgives him, except that he doesn't want to have anything to do with him anymore.
The Mishnah in Yuma, though, is referring to the atonement of Yom Kippur, whereby simply asking for forgiveness is not sufficient. In order for Yom Kippur to provide atonement for an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro, one must appease the fellow that he wronged and remove any disdain from his heart toward him – like he felt before the incident. In fact the Mishnayos are meduyak (the wording is indicative) that they are teaching these two different halachos. The Mishnah in Baba Kama says that one must be mevakesh (beseeching) from his fellow, whereas the Mishnah in Yuma says that one must be meratzeh (make himself liked by) his fellow. (I have found that this is indicative in the Rambam as well. The Rambam writes these two halachos in separate places, one in Hilchos Teshuvah and the other in Hilchos Chovel U'mazik. He preserves the same wording – "meratzeh" in Hilchos Teshuvah regarding Yom Kippur, and "mevakesh" in Hilchos Chovel U'mazik concerning the general halacha of teshuvah.)
The reason that the atonement of Yom Kippur requires that one appease his fellow more than that of the regular teshuvah is because the atonement of Yom Kippur comes about via the tzibbur, as a communal atonement. Individuals attain atonement by virtue of being members of the tzibbur (community). In fact even the karban that is brought on Yom Kippur, the se'ir hamishtale'ach, is a karban tzibbur. Thus, in order that everyone should be able to connect to the tzibbur and utilize the atonement of the tzibbur, there must not be any barriers of conflict between members of the tzibbur.
I would like to suggest another answer as to why we need two pasukim to teach us that one must ask the fellow whom he wronged for forgiveness in order to achieve atonement on an aveirah bein adam l'chaveiro. If the Torah had written only one pasuk, then all we would be able to learn from it is that as far as the mitzvah of teshuvah goes, one must ask his fellow for forgiveness, in addition to repaying him. But we would not necessarily know anything about how to attain forgiveness on Yom Kippur; in other words, we would not know that in order to be forgiven on Yom Kippur one must ask for forgiveness as well. This is because we would have thought that it is possible that one is forgiven on Yom Kippur without performing all the necessary components of teshuvah. Therefore the Torah wrote a separate pasuk, to inform us that even the atonement of Yom Kippur requires that one ask forgiveness of the fellow whom he wronged.
G'mar chasimah tovah.
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Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 10/06/2011 10:48:00 PM