Forgiveness In 'The Sunflower'

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The Sunflower Simon Wiesenthal Regina Brodell Forgiveness is a concept that constitutes a multitude of definitions and interpretations. For example, Merriam Webster defines forgiveness as: “to stop feeling anger toward someone who has done something wrong,” or to “stop blaming.” Psychologists on the other hand, define forgiveness as “a conscience, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a group who has harmed you.” However, experts in the field of psychology further state that in the process of forgiving, forgetting and condoning do not go hand in hand. Instead, condoning and forgetting are two concepts…show more content…
Simon nicknames Josek, “Rabbi” because of his deeply religious interest and unshakeable faith. One of the conversations that Simon engages with Josek, concerns the creation of man. Josek recounts the story of four angels known as Mercy, Truth, Peace and Justice. In the story, the angels constantly argue and discuss their opinions on whether the idea of creating man should be made realistic. Then, one of the angels, Truth, angers God by continuously disagreeing, so God sends the angel into banishment but then later summons his return to heaven. Upon return, the angel brings with him a clod of earth soaked with the tears he had shed from the banishment. Then out of this clod of dirt, God creates man. This story is meant to highlight Josek’s belief that all creations were made equally and from the same starting point. That all people were born pure, but some make the choice to be evil, like many of the Germans did. Sadly enough, due to the persecution of the Jews at the time, many did not believe this and instead perceived Jews as “things” not humans like the Germans. This further created a separation between the Jews and the Germans. The result of this ideology caused pain to numerous characters in the story. The questioning of why the Jews were the targeted ones or how the possibility existed that God created such evil in the world were often unsettling thoughts in the minds of the…show more content…
However, the idea of animal sacrifice disappeared along with the destruction of the first temple by the Babylonians in the year 586 B.C.E. Although animal and sacrificial ceremonies did heavily take place in Israel at one time, it was not the only method of atonement. In fact, God once rebuked the people of Israel because the people had become too consumed in sacrificial ceremonies. Now, rather than sacrifices, true repentance and prayers are encouraged and expected. Attaining true repentance involves both a victim and an offender- either towards an individual or towards God. In other words, if one commits acts against God, then the individual can seek forgiveness from God. However, if an individual commits sin against another person, they must seek forgiveness from that individual. It is also important to add that a person asking for forgiveness must show sincerity, purity, and honesty in their confession. If these qualities are shown, forgiveness shall be granted. An excerpt of The Torah in regards to forgiveness reads the following, "When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit . . ." (Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 2:10). Therefore it is essential for true sincerity and willingness to be present when seeking forgiveness. This was also what created a struggle for Simon within the story. The SS man was sincere and sorrowful for his

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