Modern Commentary

Torah & Spirit
Family Life






How to Treat People

It is written, "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Wayyiqra' 19.18); this is the general rule in man's relations with his brethren, namely, that which is unacceptable to him, he should not inflict upon another. It is written, "You shall not hate your brother in your heart" (Wayyiqra' 19.17); this is a particular of the aforementioned general dictum. It is also written, "You shall not carry tales among your people" (Wayyiqra' 19.16); this, too, is a particular, as is also the command, "You shall not harbor revenge, nor bear a grudge, against the children of your people" (Wayyiqra' 19.18), for all these things a man finds unacceptable to himself and should therefore not do them to others.

Bearing tales signifies reporting one person's words to another person by saying, 'I heard him speak thus-and-thus.' Even if the talebearer does not add anything of his own, he disrupts the good order of society, inasmuch as he causes people to quarrel. The same thing applies to a person who gives a bad name to another person, even if what he says is perfectly true, for he is even worse than the aforementioned talebearer, and he is branded as a man of an evil tongue.

A person is said to harbor revenge when he inflicts upon his fellow the same injury as the one the latter had caused him, even after he had accepted the latter's apology; for example, when he says to his fellow, 'Lend me a thousand sliver coins,' and the latter refuses, but later the former accepts the latter's apology. When, subsequently, the fellow asks him for a loan, he should not say in reply to the request, 'I will not lend to you because you refused to lend to me before."

A person is said to hold a grudge when he nurses his revenge for a long time.