“Someone Wronged Me, I’m Upset!”

Ask the Rov: What is the correct response if I feel someone wronged me?

By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin – Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah

The Torah instructs us, “You may not hate your brother in your heart.” It is common for people to disguise their hatred and pretend to be friendly, but inside their hatred brews and plots revenge, as the posuk says in Mishlei, “With his lips the enemy will seem estranged [from hatred], but within him he will plot guile.”1

According to many Rishonim, one transgresses the prohibition of “lo sisna” specifically when one keeps the hatred in his heart and does not inform his friend. Although there could be other prohibitions associated with revealed hatred, such as nekima and netira, or the failure to have Ahavas Yisroel, concealed hatred is more severe and is therefore singled out. This type of bottled-up emotion causes serious interpersonal problems, places a “sword” between them, drives people to do mesira and even bloodshed.2

A barometer for hate includes if one specifically refrains from speaking with him over three days’ time or hopes for misfortune to befall him and is happy when it does happen.3

If a fellow Jew wrongs you, or is at odds with you on a particular issue, you should not make as if all is good while harboring resentment inside. Rather, you should confront them respectfully and discuss what is bothering you. As the posuk of “lo sisna” continues to say, “Hochei’ach tochiach… You shall certainly reprimand him and not bear a sin.”

You should ask the other person, “Why did you do this to me?” and be ready to forgive them if they express remorse. In this way, they can make amends and restore a healthy relationship. Indeed, the animosity is often based on mistaken notions that could easily be cleared up through a productive dialogue.4

Another choice is to decide in your heart to forgive the offender for his ill-actions. This is indeed the preferred course of action if you are able to truly forgive and not harbor a grudge.5

A positive approach to ill feelings against another is to judge them favorably, daven for the other person, and to even make a special effort to help them out.

You are allowed to hate a rasha — one who sins — after he was properly reprimanded and still refuses to change his ways. While the Sefer HaChinuch holds that in this case you may even hate him in your heart, the Minchas Chinuch seems to disagree and holds that you may not hide it and act as if you like them.6

The Alter Rebbe emphasizes that it is simultaneously a mitzva for you to love them — the hatred due to the evil within them and the love due to the spark of G‑dliness within them. In addition, you must awaken compassion for this G‑dly soul that is in exile within kelipa, and the compassion will overwhelm the hatred and stir up the love.7

See Sources (open PDF)

From The Weekly Farbrengen by Merkaz Anash

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