Q: Years ago, as a high school student, I spoke in a demeaning manner of hashkafah lessons taught by a prominent Rav as part of our school curriculum. I said the lessons were boring, etc., and my classmate who listened agreed with me, and even passed on the information to others. Today, I feel sorry about what I said. In hindsight, I understand how much we gained in high school and understand that it was forbidden for me to speak negatively of these important lessons.
Is it enough for me to repent “bein adam laMakom — between man and Hashem”? Must I write an apology letter to that Rav? I must note that I am not in contact with those girls, and I also don’t know who heard what I said, so that it isn’t possible to remove the negativity from their hearts.
A: It seems from the question that no real damage, pain or embarrassment was caused to that prominent Rav whose lessons you demeaned. It therefore seems that halachically it is enough for you to repent by regretting the deed, confessing to Hashem and resolving not to repeat the offense.
To be extra careful, however, (on the suspicion that he may have once been hurt or embarrassed), it would be good if on the occasion of a simchah (bar mitzvah or wedding), when you mail invitations to your classmates, as is usually done, you can attach a little printed note for your classmates with a quote that is suitable for the occasion from one of the Rav’s lessons and add, “The Rav’s lessons have accompanied me through the years,” or something similar.
You will thus correct the negative impression you left about him.
The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-2 5379160.
The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.