The Sefer Chasidim writes about the greatness of Yosef, that he forgave the brothers for their sin against him. Yet we find in Chazal references to golus Mitzrayim, the asura charugei malchus, and other punishments to klal Yisrael at large as a punishment for the sin of the ten brothers. How can one justify this?
Of the most dramatic explanations is the famous Rabbeinu Bachaya, who indeed argues on the Sefer Chasidim, and says that Yosef never explicitly forgave his brothers – hence the subsequent punishments.
However, the Chida offers a different approach. He tells us as we know that when one sins against his fellow man, he also sins against Hashem. Though the brothers asked for and received forgiveness from Yosef, they didn’t get forgiveness from Hashem. So while it is true that Yosef forgave his brothers, the brothers – and the Jewish People – could still be punished for acting against him.
I think the lesson we can learn from this is that many times people own up to something that they have done wrong and as hard is it may be they feel vindicated because they have wiped away the damage that they did. On our level we should remember to think as the Chida tells us that it is just not enough to get forgiveness from our fellow man, because every sin between man and his neighbor is a chillul Hashem, a desecration of Hashem’s holy name, and needs specific forgiveness from Hashem himself.
Question for the Shabbos table: If Reuven said Loshen Hara which caused Shimon to lose his job, and because of that there was “collateral damage” (e.g. Shimon lost his house which caused for him many personal inconveniences and damages to his family), is Reuven obligated to apologize to Hashem? How about to Shimon’s wife or son?