Weekly Parsha Review Laced with Humor and Sarcasm from The Oisvorfer Ruv

Kedoishim 2024: Permission to Hate

Raboyseyee and Ladies:

Permission to Hate:

May we hate another fellow Jew? More on that below, ober let’s set the stage: The Yiddin, following 210 years of slavery and certainly after a total of either 400 or 430 years of living in Mitzrayim (Egypt) had become fully immersed in their ways and practices. Isn’t that what people do? When in Rome do as the Romans! Ober, suddenly they found themselves married to the RBSO who gave them the Ten Commandments. If those weren’t enough to abruptly change one’s lifestyle, week after week, and parsha after parsha since, the RBSO has been unveiling more of the rulebook. They do not -at all- resemble the life they had become accustomed to. What to do?

What year are we in? In real time, in our parsha, it’s the year 2449 just a bit of time after the deaths of Nodov and Avihu who died just past the first anniversary of redemption from Egypt. Let’s give a warm welcome to Parshas Kedoishim where we find a total of 51 new mitzvis. The bad news: 38 of them are of the ‘thou shalt not do’ variety and many of them were quite challenging for the newly minted Yiddin. The 365 negative commandments remain challenging over 3300 years later. The RBSO demands that His people be, or become holy. He forbids a bunch of relationships that were seemingly normative behavior for the people. And if cutting out incestual relationships -last week’s parsha but reiterated this week- was going to be a hardship, He was not quite done. He also forbade homosexuality, bestiality, and a litany of others. By the mere fact that the RBSO felt the need to forbid them, es veyst zich ois (seemingly) that many were par for the intercourse- we meant course that were being practiced by His newly minted people prior to Revelation. Chazerim mamish!

As mentioned above, this week’s parsha instructs the Yiddin to be holy, and one of the ways to stay holy, is to avada stay away from certain holes, front and rear, if you chap. A list of the forbidden was provided last week; this week, the RBSO tells us what lies ahead after one lies down and violates. Standing up is also forbidden. A happy ending it’s not. Ober let’s not go there: ever!

The bottom line: The entire list of punishments attached to the now forbidden mostly deviant behavior can be found following the holiness section which opens the parsha, check out chapter 19. The RBSO wants His people to be holy because He is holy. Them are tall orders.

ויקרא יט:ב …קְדֹשִׁים תִּהְיוּ כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אֲנִי יְ־הוָ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

…You shall be holy, for I Hashem your G-d am holy.

One can only imagine how the Yiddin reacted when they got all this news: OMG!  What? I can no longer bed my wife’s sister? My own shvigger (MIL)? And that magnificent horse? The list goes on. And if all that weren’t enough, the RBSO had one more surprise waiting for them, this one perhaps the most difficult mitzvah of all to keep. Ironically, it’s not even a negative commandment; farkert! It’s mamish a mitzvas ah-say (to do). Nu, mistama you think that we are about to discuss shabbis observance -which as an aside- the RBSO reminds us of two more times in the parsha, 27 times as a command and many other times in the entire heylige Toirah- but you would be wrong. Nor did the RBSO touch upon other mitzvis the Yiddin struggle with. Instead, this week- mamish in our parsha- He commands the Yiddin to love one’s friend as does one love himself! Well, blow me down; is that even possible?

Avada, many are all too familiar with the concept of loving oneself -many having discovered such love back in high school, if you chap, ober to share that love with others? How is this possible? What’s pshat? How does one love another as does one love him or herself? Let’s focus on what may be -efsher is- the most difficult to observe mitzvah in the entire heylige Toirah? In fact, there are two commandments –one positive and one negative- that sort of go together; both are nearly impossible to properly observe. What are they? Lommer lernin by beginning with the impactful words from our parsha (Vayikra 19:18). “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Ober, is it really possible to love one’s neighbor as oneself? Efsher the neighbor’s wife every now and then, say it’s not so, and taka the RBSO thought you might be thinking just that. And for that reason, also in our parsha -and last week’s- He closed that loophole with these instructions:

וְאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִנְאַף֙ אֶת־אֵ֣שֶׁת אִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִנְאַ֖ף אֶת־אֵ֣שֶׁת רֵעֵ֑הוּ מֽוֹת־יוּמַ֥ת הַנֹּאֵ֖ף וְהַנֹּאָֽפֶת׃

If a man commits adultery with a married woman—committing adultery with another man’s wife—the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

וְאֶל־אֵ֙שֶׁת֙ עֲמִֽיתְךָ֔ לֹא־תִתֵּ֥ן שְׁכׇבְתְּךָ֖ לְזָ֑רַע לְטׇמְאָה־בָֽהּ׃

Do not have carnal relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.

Still, we must kler azoy: it seems unlikely, if not impossible, to love others as does one love oneself—especially if they are unlovable! Let’s get real!  We all come across people who are malicious, cruel, or vindictive. We know people who are manipulative, egomaniacal, dishonest, offensive, and much worse. We meet and interact with bad people all the time. Can we really be expected to love such people? So happens that the Ois knows such people. OK, at least one whom he’d love to name, ober, that might -would- violate another Toirah prohibition listed in the parsha. On the other hand, does that stop us? Ah nechtiger tug (fuhgeddaboudit). Regularly we bad mouth such people to our friends and anyone that will listen. These people are shlecht (bad) to the core, and zicher not deserving of love, certainly not ours. We hate them and wish them only bad things, even a slow and miserable death. What does the RBSO want from us?

Moreover, don’t our sages declare that Man is to be partial to himself? They do! This is fundamental, as reflected in Rebbe Akiva’s ruling that Your life takes precedence over your fellowman’s. How then are we to love others as ourselves with equal force, irrespective of conduct? Why is this commandment lumped in with others that at least seem somewhat logical?

That sleeping with a beyhamo (animal) is forbidden, nu, this we can chap, and taka one who chooses such pleasure, is deserving of what the RBSO has in mind. Let’s read that posik too:

וְאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִתֵּ֧ן שְׁכׇבְתּ֛וֹ בִּבְהֵמָ֖ה מ֣וֹת יוּמָ֑ת וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָ֖ה תַּהֲרֹֽגוּ׃

If a man has carnal relations with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast.

The good news: some of our sages were also but human and decided that what the heylige Toirah states befeirush (in the text) is not what the heylige Toirah means. Just kidding! What’s pshat?

Says the Rashbam that pshat is azoy: Love thy neighbor as thyself is operative only if the neighbor is virtuous, but not if s/he is wicked. If he is righteous, but not if he is a villain, in which case you must follow the dictum of Shlomo Hamelech (King Solomon) who said: “the fear of the Lord is to hate evil; avoid him and shun his company.” We are to love our “neighbor,” means only those individuals who act in a “neighborly” way, those who are not assholes, those who maintain a moral compass and a courteous lifestyle. The bottom line: According to this line of thinking, there is no obligation to love bad people. On the other hand, says the heylige Toirah, azoy:

 17.  You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account.   יזלֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֨יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ וְלֹֽא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא:
18.  You shall neither take revenge from nor bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.   יחלֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֹֽה:

Some say the words mean that one must love his fellow Jew like one loves himself. Ober, is that possible? Can a person really love another person –his fellow Jew- as much as one loves himself? Mistama not! Many don’t like their neighbors, some mamish despise them. How does one go about loving his fellow Jew as he loves himself? How are we to love this bad “neighbor?” And who is this “neighbor” we are commanded to love? Is it one specific neighbor? All? Are we required to love all Yiddin? A tall order for sure. Seemingly, the exact interpretation of these words is different and depends on which chumish one is reading as there seem to be subtle differences in the translations. And before we delve into real meaning of loving one’s neighbor, let’s first make sure you all chap that this neighbor is not married to your chaver, or anyone else for that matter.

Let’s re-read the beginning of posik 17 which tells us that it is forbidden for us to hate our brothers in our hearts and 18 where the RBSO forbids us from taking revenge or even holdings a grudge in our hearts. You hear this raboyseyee? We are commanded not to take revenge and not bear a grudge?! On the other hand, the posik specifically commands us to “rebuke your friend.” Are we supposed to let things slide? Or, are we to rebuke when we feel wronged? The next instruction tells us “do not hate your friend in your heart,” and also “do not bear upon him sin.”  What’s pshat, and what are we supposed to do when angered by a friend’s actions? A few more questions: while the heylige Toirah tells us not to hate our friends in our hearts, is permission then granted to hate them in other ways? Can we take action to let them know we’re pissed off and mad as hell? Are all the instructions in this posik connected? How? And what’s pshat in the final instruction where we are taught “do not bear upon him sin?”

Let’s get real again: Is not the entire heylige Toirah -and by extension include Tanach (the Prophets)- replete with stories of bearing grudges and taking revenge? Indeed it is! Did Avsholom –after carrying hatred in his heart for two years not arrange to have Amnon murdered? Indeed, he did. Was a grudge not held by Yoisef’s brothers who out of sheer jealousy mercilessly threw him into a pit before selling him into slavery? Did he not harbor ill will and remember what they did to him? Did he not -when the opportunity arose- play emotional games with them? Did Eisav not plot and eventually also pursue his brother Yaakov just because he made a bad deal and sold him his bichoira (birthright)? Ok- Yaakov also may have tricked him out of his father’s brochis, ober, so what? Was Kayin not resentful –also out of jealousy- to a point where he committed capital murder just because the RBSO accepted his brother’s sacrifice? As an aside, the first ever capital offense was committed by one of ours; yikes! Is the Novee not laden with stories about hate and revenge? It is! The examples are many. How are we to overcome natural feelings of anger, and thoughts of revenge when hurt by others?

On the other hand, the heylige Toirah instructs us not to take revenge, and not to bear a grudge against a member of your people. Yikes! Instead, we are to “love thy neighbor?” Is there any commandment more well-known? On the other hand, there are times and logical reasons aplenty to hold a grudge, and or, to seek revenge. People do real bad things to one another. For many an aggrieved person, being angry and plotting revenge, gives life.

The good news: it appears that there may be a legal loophole around the commandment of not to hate your brother in your heart! There are mamish Gemora based sources indicating that under specific circumstances, this prohibition may be waived. Is the heylige Ois suggesting that permission is really given -under specific circumstances- to hate a fellow Jew? Yes he is! Oib azoy (if so), what are they? Let’s learn some Gemora innvaynig where in Pesochim 113b, we find this great-news discussion:

אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר רַב יִצְחָק אָמַר רַב: מוּתָּר לִשְׂנֹאתוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״כִּי תִרְאֶה חֲמוֹר שֹׂנַאֲךָ רוֹבֵץ תַּחַת מַשָּׂאוֹ״. מַאי ״שׂוֹנֵא״? אִילֵּימָא שׂוֹנֵא גּוֹי, וְהָא תַּנְיָא: שׂוֹנֵא שֶׁאָמְרוּ — שׂוֹנֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא שׂוֹנֵא גּוֹי.


Rabbi Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchok said that Rav said: Although one who sees another committing a sin should not testify against him by himself, he is nonetheless permitted to hate him, as it is stated: “If you see the donkey of he who hates you lying under its load” (Exodus 23:5). The Gemora clarifies this verse: What is the meaning of he who hates you mentioned in the verse? If you say it is referring to a gentile who hates you, but wasn’t it taught in a baraisa that the phrase: He who hates, of which the Torah spoke, is a Jew who hates you, not a gentile who hates you?


אֶלָּא פְּשִׁיטָא, שׂוֹנֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל. וּמִי שְׁרֵיא לְמִסְנְיֵהּ? וְהָכְתִיב: ״לֹא תִשְׂנָא אֶת אָחִיךָ בִּלְבָבֶךָ״. אֶלָּא דְּאִיכָּא סָהֲדִי דְּעָבֵיד אִיסּוּרָא — כּוּלֵּי עָלְמָא נָמֵי מִיסְנֵי סָנֵי לֵיהּ, מַאי שְׁנָא הַאי? אֶלָּא לָאו כִּי הַאי גַוְונָא, דַּחֲזָיא בֵּיהּ אִיהוּ דְּבַר עֶרְוָה.


Rather, it is obvious that the verse is referring to a Jew who hates you. But is one permitted to hate a fellow Jew? But isn’t it written: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart” (our parsha 9:17), which clearly prohibits the hatred of another Jew? Rather, perhaps you will say that the verse is referring to a situation where there are witnesses that he performed a sin. However, in that case, everyone else should also hate him. What is different about this particular person who hates him? Rather, is it not referring to a case like this, when he saw him perform a licentious matter? He is therefore permitted to hate him for his evil behavior, whereas others who are unaware of his actions may not hate him.


רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק אָמַר: מִצְוָה לִשְׂנֹאתוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״יִרְאַת ה׳ (שׂוֹנְאֵי) רָע״. אָמַר רַב אַחָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרָבָא לְרַב אָשֵׁי: מַהוּ לְמֵימְרָא לֵיהּ לְרַבֵּיהּ לְמִשְׂנְיֵיהּ? אֲמַר לֵיהּ: אִי יָדַע דִּמְהֵימַן לְרַבֵּיהּ כְּבֵי תְרֵי — לֵימָא לֵיהּ, וְאִי לָא — לָא לֵימָא לֵיהּ.


Rav Nacḥman bar Yitzchok said: Not only is this permitted, it is even a mitzva to hate him, as it is stated: “The fear of G-d is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13).



The bottom lines: this shtikel Gemora implies that there are situations in which it is permissible and perhaps even obligatory to hate a fellow Jew, if the other Jew has violated a commandment. Even if the word “reiacho” (your friend) includes all Yiddin in the obligation of loving one as one loves himself, the word “achicho” (your brother) may exclude certain people, namely those who engage in blatant violations of commandments. The implication is that one is obligated to hate an evildoer.


More bottom lines: it’s taka emes that we are commanded not to hate another Jew in our hearts, ober, as the heylige Gemora -which had a clear understanding of humans and their odd behavior at times -especially evil behavior- points out, there is a work-around. The heylige Gemora gave us a loophole to hate. Permission is mamish granted to hate and perhaps to also act on that hate in certain circumstances. And for those reasons raboyseyee, the next time someone really pisses you off, someone acts with evil intent towards you or your family members, perhaps you are free to move about, to hate him and to let him know that you hate this person. To hate him and also put a stop to the hatred. Exactly how, ver veyst? In other words: it may taka take a loophole to hate a fellow Jew but what is the heylige Toirah without a bunch of amazing loopholes? Could we sell our chometz to a goy? Lend monies with interest? Have hot chulent on shabbis? Let us remember Rav Nachman bar Yitzchok said: “It is a duty to hate him, as it is written (Mishlei 8:13), “G-d’s commandment is to hate wickedness.”


On the other hand, for most, it’s an exercise in futility. If those carrying the grudge walk around angry while the person they are angry with has mamish no clue that someone is angry, the situation is not healthy. In other words: being angry and plotting revenge is mamish a waste of energy and koichis if the angry –or aggrieved (at least in the mind of that person), does not share his feelings and discuss the issues with the person against whom he has hard feelings. It’s mamish a gilechter (farcical).

Nu, as the heylige Ois has told you over and again, the RBSO knew what He was instructing; it’s seemingly our tafkid (mission) to figure it all out. Let’s try to chap what these instructions taka mean. Can the various instructions found in these two pisukim quoted above square up? Are they mutually exclusive? And guess what: several luminaries pondered these very questions –mistama as they were angry with one another over some narishkeyt (silliness) which caused them to get pissed off at each other, as may have been the case with Rebbe Akiva’s students who all perished during these sefira days (according to many a medrish, but not all) as a result of petty and efsher baseless hatred. Let us remember the opinion of Rashi  in  (Ayrichin 16b): the victim is forbidden to hate in his or her heart. Instead, the victim must rebuke and improve the other’s behavior.

A gittin Shabbis-

The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv

Yitz Grossman


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