Home Subscribe Services Support Us
Print Version

Email this article to a friend


by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

"If you see the donkey of someone you hate struggling under its burden, shall you refrain from helping to unload it? You shall certainly unload it with him." [23:5]

The Tosfos, a major commentary on the Talmud, discusses this verse. The authors ask a simple question: why does this mitzvah focus upon someone you hate? The obvious, simple answer is that this applies even to someone you hate. But the Tosfos provides us with a far more profound reason for highlighting this particular case.

Obviously, this does not refer to someone whom you dislike as an individual. To hate your brother or sister is prohibited by the Torah, and without question any mitzvah to help would apply to any such person without being specified. What the Torah is discussing here, then, is a person whom you know engages in deliberate, evil behavior. In this case, you have an obligation to hate the evil actions, and to even demonstrate hatred towards the person doing them -- to distance yourself from evil.

The problem is that over the course of time, mitzvah hatred can easily transform itself into personal hatred. Instead of distancing myself from evil, I end up participating in the evil of gratuitous hatred.

If I demonstrate hatred because of the person's evil actions, he or she will begin to hate me as well. "Like a face reflected in the water, so is the heart of a person towards another" -- the way another person feels towards you is a reflection of the way you behave towards that person. And even if the hatred is because I have this mitzvah to hate evil, that person's hatred towards me is no mitzvah at all, but simply personal. What happens then? Even my hatred towards that person becomes personal as well. No longer a mitzvah, my behavior becomes the very opposite of what the Torah desires.

Therefore, says the Torah, we must extend ourselves to help that person when he or she is in distress. There is a limit, a boundary, to what is called a mitzvah of hatred. A vital undercurrent of love must remain!

Sponsored for the speedy healing of Aharon Yoel ben Pinyah.



View Complete List

Profit from Loss, Light from Darkness
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

Darkness and Light
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Horns and Hedonism
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

> Chanukah and Mechiras Yosef: The Hidden Connection
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Bonding Time
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

The Light of Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Best Effort
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Majesty Resides Within!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Judging Favorably
Shlomo Katz - 5775


Chanukah Vs. Purim
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Learning To Enjoy The Struggle
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Yaakov's Lesson
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Test of Your Own
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Transition and Leadership
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Home Alone: The Original
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Project Genesis Home

Torah Portion

Jewish Law



Learn the Basics




Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base


About Us

Contact Us

Free Book on Geulah! Home Copyright Information