Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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2 Av 5763 - July 31, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Opinion & Comment
What is the Tikkun for Baseless Hatred? Not Ahavas Chinom!

We are speaking about the tikkun of the problems that led to Tisha B'Av and, as Tisha B'Av is far from pleasant, we might expect that its tikkun is also difficult and unpleasant.

The gemora in Yoma (9b) is well known: The Second Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed because of sinas chinom -- baseless hatred. This is a terrible sin -- at least the equal of the three awful sins for which one must martyr himself, which were the cause of the destruction of the First Beis Hamikdash. The gemora concludes that it is worse than all those three together, since the (First) Beis Hamikdash was restored after those sins, but has not yet been restored after it was destroyed because of the sin of baseless hatred.

It is not too early in the year -- less than a month before Elul -- to recall the teshuvoh stages, since they are the prototype of any tikkun for past actions.

The first stage is halting and completely abolishing any vestige of baseless hatred itself. It is a repugnant idea and its presence signifies that the person who exhibits it is not ruled by the higher faculties -- the seichel -- whose orientation and actions are always ruled by understanding and reason.

To complete the tikkun it is necessary to act in a way opposite to the failure. Formally, it would seem that the diametric opposite of baseless hatred is justified love.

This is certainly a very good thing. There is so much to be grateful for and so many good reasons to love so many people -- and of course to love Hashem -- that this is an important and beneficial way to compensate for sinas chinom. Love your family, love your neighbor, love all of Klal Yisroel, love all Hashem's creatures -- and love Hashem.

This is the easy part. But there is another tikkun that should not be overlooked: justified hatred. Dovid Hamelech wrote (Tehillim 139:21-22): "Will I not hate those who hate You and quarrel with those who stand against You? I hate them with the most extreme hatred; they have become my enemies."

A person should never hate for no reason at all. There are in fact very few things or circumstances that should call forth hatred on our part. But there are circumstances in which hatred is appropriate and desirable -- and they are, unfortunately, not as rare as we would hope them to be nowadays.

Some people say that the healing response to sinas chinom is ahavas chinom -- causeless love. This is based on their understanding that the key wrong in the gemora's explanation of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash is the hatred, not the fact that it was causeless.

The ultimate Geuloh will certainly have no use for hatred. Once all the evil has dissipated as smoke, there will be no occasion for hatred.

As Tisha B'Av reminds us so painfully, we are still very far from that ultimate state -- and the path to Geuloh does require hatred that is properly based and appropriately directed. We must hate those who hate Hashem, and love everyone else.

The love that we must have is firmly based on the fact that all Hashem's creatures who are not against Him contribute to reaching the tikkun ha'olom. Ahavas chinom is not part of this formula.

May the publication of these words find hatred a thing of the past -- but if chas vesholom the final Geuloh has not yet arrived, may we learn to use both hatred and, especially, love, as appropriate.

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