it took 77 years for this “just” desert. was it sweet?
did an act heal the psychic wound of a 13-year-old now celebrating her 90th birthday?
a young lady’s 13th birthday was spoiled when her mom’s specially baked cake was allegedly pilfered while its was waiting to cool. it was world war ii, and her birthday coincided with united states military forces invading italy. at a time when other italians were celebrating army soldiers presence, ms. meri mion’s view of the world was much different. a big moment in a child’s life, a 13th birthday, a time of maturity, was spoiled by a theft by these liberators. whether it was truly a theft is also something to debate. did the soldiers misread the situation and thought that someone would bake a cake for them. perhaps their belief was clouded by having to eat mres (meals ready to eat) aka military rations? nevertheless, the cake was taken.
77 years later, the united states army decided make amends. how did the military remember this event? perhaps, it became a legend. perhaps, it remained a thorn adult ms. meri mion’s side.
thus, on her 90th birthday, ms. meri mion was presented a birthday cake courtesy of the us army. this presentation was with pomp and circumstance. there was military in dress. “hundreds of people, to include italian soldiers, carabinieri, u.s. veterans, italian veterans, plus many local residents watched on.” army.mil as well as upon receiving the cake, ms. mion said “tomorrow, we will eat that dessert, with all my family remembering this wonderful day that i will never forget.” independent
with this act of justice, the military accomplished many things. it healed a young child’s wound, it created a happy memory for ms. mion, and it assisted in restoring goodwill of the the us military.
healing wounds, even very old ones, is part of the ten commandments’ process. while there are prohibitions towards certain activities, there are also principles to make things right when there is a wrong. timing can be an issue. when is the right time to make amends? in this circumstance, 77 years is perhaps quite much. however, in doing so, it was done at a special moment in time, a 90th birthday.
the torah provides an annual opportunity so that one will not have to wait 77 years for their moment. holidays of rosh hashonah and yom kippur create awareness, prompting and the opportunity for making amends.
“repentance requires several steps as discussed by maimonides. teshuva is actually a process of self-evaluation and self-improvement. the rambam enumerates four primary steps to the teshuva process: 1. recognize and discontinue the improper action. 2. verbally confess the action, thus giving the action a concrete form in your own mind. 3. regret the action. evaluate the negative impact this action may have had on yourself or on others.
4. determine never to repeat the action. picture a better way to handle it. …teshuva for a sin between one person and another: when one has caused harm to others, whether by stealing from them, embarrassing them or anything else, then teshuva requires that restitution and reconciliation be arranged between the parties involved. sepharia.org
in a divided society, seeking forgiveness for wrongful acts should not be weaponized to destroy those on the other half of the aisle. everyone in society should be afforded the opportunity to make things right. this statement, however, is not made with naivete that there are some unforgiveable events.
in sum, this story teaches us that while that it may never be too late for forgiveness, it should not have to wait 77 years.
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