Chodesh Tammuz Tov to all. Today is also the Yahrzeit of Yosef ben Yaakov. He is the epitome of a Tzaddik (Righteous Person). Withstanding Potiphar's wife's relentless seductive advances that subsequently ended him up in prison, he attained the status of Tzaddik.
Light a candle in his memory. Also pray in his merit to stand strong in face of immoral adversity, for strength to stand strong in your believe and spiritual values, in a sometimes very lonely journey, and to ultimately be released in the true purpose Hashem has destined you for. Yosef also didn't hold any grudges against his brothers for what happened to him. He assured them that it was G-d's plan (Gen 50), he had the ability to let go of the past - to forgive and move on. This allowed him to become so great and influential. Pray also on this day for the strength to completely forgive those who hurt you.
Why is it sometimes so difficult to forgive?
Your ability to forgive lies in the strength of your faith. Many of us are afraid that G-d will just wipe out and forgive the person that has done a terrible wrong. My answer once to a friend who was struggling with anger and the ability to forgive was this: "Anger at someone (and sometimes the inability to forgive someone for what they've done) speaks of us not trusting G-d that He will see true justice done. We feel that we have to hold on because He might forget, or not call that soul to absolute responsibility for the pain that they've caused, so we hold on - with good intentions "for justice’s sake". At the same time, that inability to not forgive will demobilize you - and that's something that none of us can afford."
Yes, G-d forgives - oh boy, NONE of us will make it if it wasn't for His Rachamim (mercy). But the Divine system records everything, calculates everything, and for that we will stand before Him one day. Tshuva (Repentance) has tremendous power to turn things around, but G-d is not fooled. Insincere Tshuva or even the lack of it will be accounted for one day. Sincere Tshuva means a person knows exactly what they did, owns up to it and makes right in all ways possible with those they hurt. And here is the deal breaker: You cannot side-step the person you've hurt and just run to G-d and ask Him to forgive you. Other religions might tell you that you are "covered", but that is as far from the Truth as can be. G-d's system calls ALL to account to the finest detail and requires you to make right with your fellowman before even thinking of approaching Him. Your relationship with G-d very much depends on your relationship with your fellowman.
In light of this, you can therefore rest assure that G-d knows, and G-d sees, and it is yours to forgive and let go. By that you leave it in His hands to take care of the rest. Living in a world of instant gratification we might want to see justice done immediately. This, in general, might not be the case. So yours is the challenge to move on regardless! That’s your test.
Yosef understood this. He would not have been able to reach the heights he did, was it not for him forgiving his brothers, long before he had the opportunity to meet with them. Even now we can see the repercussions of that. As you know we are awaiting two Messiahs, not just one. Massiach Ben Yosef, and Massiah Ben David. Why not Masshiah Ben Yehuda? Because of this very point. Yosef, merited that the future Massiach that will stem from his bloodline will be called after his name, Yehuda did not. Yehuda did not only spearheaded Yosef's sale to the Medianites (yes he did so to save Yosef’s life, but this was choosing between the lesser of two evils), chapter 38 speaks about him going off the derech, making a major spiritual detour. The verse reads, Yehuda "went down". That refers to a spiritual descent. After this we saw that Yehuda made tremendous recompense when he stood between Yosef and Benyamin, refusing that Yosef take their younger brother. That was him taking action in making things right, making Tshuva. Nevertheless, he did not merit that the Mashiah who will ultimately rule in the End of Days to be named after him. David had to make a further tikkun for Yehuda, and ultimately merited that honour.
So, you see, G-d knows, and He is the true Judge. He governs our world with true righteousness and justice. Therefore, take Yosef's example, be a Tzaddik, and let G-d do the rest!
I will cover more about the month of Tammuz, what has been going on in Israel, and its spiritual signifance in the week to come, G-d willing.
Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom to all.