Everyone makes mistakes –- it's only human. A lot of times, we feel bad if we do something we shouldn't. But what is done is done.
On Yom Kippur, God gives the Jewish people a special opportunity to erase our mistakes. "I know you make mistakes, my children," He tells us, "but if I see you're truly sorry and want to do better next time, I'll forgive you and give you another chance."
The Jewish people fast on Yom Kippur. By not eating, we spend more time thinking about how we can improve ourselves, and also show God that we're willing to make sacrifices to do it. He sees that we're sorry and are going to do better from now on, and is happy to forgive us.
In our story, a girl gets a second chance and learns about forgiveness.
"That Takes the Cake"
Shoshi was on her way to deliver a cake her mother had baked for Mrs. Fried, a widow who lived down the block.
"Wow, that smells really good," thought Shoshi as she looked at the neatly wrapped gift. "Maybe I'll just take a tiny nibble," she said to herself as she lifted the corner off the package. They were her Mom's famous triple-chocolate brownie, fresh from the oven.
Well, one nibble led to another until, by the time Shoshi got to Mrs. Fried's house, there wasn't anything left to deliver.
Suddenly, Shoshi realized what she had done, and she felt awful. "How could I have done that?" she asked herself. "Mom trusted me to bring these to Mrs. Fried and I ate them instead! When Mom finds out, she'll never trust me again."
Shoshi headed home. The closer she got, the more sorry she felt about it. As she passed by her friends on the way home, she could barely eke out a weak reply to their hearty greetings of "Shabbat Shalom."
When Shoshi got home, she ran right upstairs to her room. But even her cozy chair and favorite books couldn't take her mind off what she had done.
After a few minutes, she came downstairs and found her mother rocking the baby on the back porch. Shoshi stood up straight and cleared her throat to get her mother's attention.
"Oh, Shoshi," said her Mom with a smile. "I didn't hear you come in."
Shoshi smiled back weakly and said, "Mom, I have something to confess."
Her mother's eyes widened. "What is it, Shoshi?" she asked hesitantly.
"Well, Mom," the girl stammered, "the brownies you gave me to bring the neighbor ... I didn't ... I ate them ... I'm so sorry!" Tears were forming in Shoshi's eyes.
"Hmm..." said her Mom, with a slight frown. "I'm sorry that that happened. But I can see that you're very sorry." She thought a moment, then added, "Since you feel so bad about what happened, I'm going to give you another chance. Run quickly to the freezer; I just put an extra package of brownies in there. It's in aluminum foil. If you leave right now, I think you'll be able to bring them to Mrs. Fried before it gets dark outside. I think she'll really enjoy them."
Shoshi looked at her mother and burst out, "Oh, Mom! Thanks so much for giving me a second chance. From now on you can count on me," she said, and meant it.
Shoshi practically flew to Mrs. Fried's house with a smile on her face and feeling inside even sweeter than triple-chocolate brownies.
Q. How did Shoshi feel when she realized she had eaten the brownies?
A. She felt sorry about what she had done, and was afraid that her mother wouldn't trust her anymore.
Q. What about after her mother sent her back with more brownies?
A. She was so happy that even though she had done something wrong, her mother forgave her and let her have another chance to do it right.
Q. Do you think if a person does something wrong they should get a second chance? Why or why not?
A. Yes. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. But when they get a second chance, they should try really hard not to make the same mistake again.
Q. Do you think Shoshi would make the same mistake and eat the second package of brownies? Why or why not?
A. She would not make the same mistake, because she learned her lesson. She saw how bad she felt the first time after she had eaten them. She also wanted to prove to her mom that she could be trusted from now on.
Q. Why did Shoshi's mom give her a second chance?
A. She saw that Shoshi was truly sorry about what she had done. And she knew that they would both feel happier when Shoshi showed that she could do the right thing.
Q. Do you think it can be healthy for a person to feel regret for things he's done wrong in the past? When yes and when no?
A. Regret that focuses on correcting the wrong action is healthy since it spurs a person to change for the better; it leads to positive changes. Guilt, on the other hand, only makes a person feel down and hopeless; it's unhealthy, because instead of focusing on changing behavior, the focus is on self-loathing.
Q. On Yom Kippur God's Divine ability to forgive is revealed. How is this similar to human forgiveness, and how does it differ?