In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the commandment of not harboring hate in our hearts. The verse states, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart”…
The Torah’s choice of words in this commandment seems puzzling and ironic. In general, when the Torah speaks about the laws of interpersonal relationships, the Torah uses the word “friend” or “man” to describe the second party, however, in our verse which is talking about someone you are tempted to hate, the Torah calls him your “brother”.
When we examine this commandment, it seems that the Torah’s choice of words is teaching us an important lesson. When a person wrongs and hurts us it is natural to bear a grudge and hatred to that person. Yet, we find that if the person that is is a close family member, we usually rid ourselves of the grudge much quicker than, we do for other people. The reason for this is that the closeness and love we feel for a close family member makes it easier to rid ourselves of the grudge and hatred. This is why the Torah in our verse calls the second party our brother to remind us that the person who wronged you is your brother and is close to you so therefore, let go of your hatred to him.
But now in fact is he our brother?
To explain this point, we need to look at the teachings of the Kabbalah. The Kaballah teaches that the Jewish nations on the soul level are one family and their souls are inherently close to each other and therefore the Torah calls the second party “our brother”
May we all succeed in ridding our heart of hatred!