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Burst of Inspiration

#7 – Don’t Take Revenge or Bear a Grudge

Two more lo sa’asehs that are often violated together are “לֹא תִקֹּם וְלֹא תִטֹּר”. The Gemara tells us that if you damaged me, you caused me pain, you did something to damage me, I’m not allowed to take revenge. Revenge is if I come to you and I ask you to borrow a shovel and you refused. The next day you come and ask to borrow my rake and I say, “Listen, fella, yesterday I needed a favor and you didn’t help me so I’m not doing it for you.” That’s revenge. I’m wreaking revenge against you.

“לֹא תִטֹּר” is a little different. Netirah is I ask you to borrow your shovel and you say no. The next day you ask to borrow my rake and I say, “Listen, buddy, I’m not like you, I’ll loan it because I’m not a cheapskate like you.” And I loan it but I’m bearing a grudge.

Nekamah is taking revenge, netirah is bearing a grudge. Both are full lo sa’asehs in the Torah, both are fully forbidden, and we as Jews are obligated to wipe out those feelings, wipe out those memories from our heart. We have to be totally forgiving and we can’t take revenge and we can’t bear a grudge.

Explains the Chafetz Chaim, many, many times lashon hara will stem from this and lashon hara will violate this. When we feel that we’re stepped upon, we feel that someone has trespassed our rights or whatever it may be, we become very judgmental, we become very upset and we will often then take revenge, we’ll speak about that person differently or certainly will bear a grudge. And very often when we’re speaking about a person and I’m telling you what Reuven did and what Reuven said, et cetera, it’s because I harbor ill will against him and automatically I’m speaking out of nekamah, I’m seeking revenge, or at least I’m harboring that sense, I have netirah. So not only does a person when he speaks lashon hara obviously violate “לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ”, but automatically there’s often a sense of revenge, a sense of harboring ill will. And these are two lo sa’asehs that often follow automatically with lashon hara.

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