Forgiving “The Shul” on Yom Kippur

It sometimes happens that people have valid complaints against “The Shul”. “The Shul” didn’t appropriately announce a Mazal Tov. Or “The Shul” made another mistake with your bill. Or “The Shul” isn’t as friendly a place as it could be. Obviously their not complaining against the building, their complaining against the people running the Shul.

I think people should inform the appropriate parties when things aren’t right, but it might be worth keeping in mind that the people administering the operations of the Shul are volunteers, who collectively provide you services for no pay. In most Shuls only about 20% about the membership is involved to any significant degree, which makes the volunteers jobs even more commendable.

It’s probably too much to ask that people should think long and hard about the right way to phrase their complaints. Many reasons come to mind, “People pay dues for these services”, “The Shul made the mistake”, “People should take responsibility for the positions they take”, and the list goes on. Thank G-d there are exceptions. Many people show appreciation and are very hesitant to complain. But those who have spent significant time volunteering for “The Shul” will be well advised to expect to take heat for the mistakes they will make.

It’s Yom Kippur time and although some Shul administrations ask for a public forgiveness, others don’t. However there is a paragraph inserted in the Tefillah Zakkah, recited before Kol Nidrei at the request of the Chofetz Chaim in which we forgive everybody who has wronged us (without waving any financial damage we have incurred). This might be a good time to privately forgive “The Shul” for their sins of commission and omission. It will take a second and if you do it sincerely perhaps you’ll even reach the next level and come to appreciate all “The Shul” does for you.

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