Kenneth Cohen

Accepting Rebuke

The Keli Yakar comments on the commandment not to hate your brother in your heart. This is followed by the command to rebuke the person that you feel justified to dislike.

This is a kind of remedy to eliminate those negative feelings that one might have towards another person. The Rabbis point out that one is justified to have such feelings if the other person caused him monetary loss, physical pain, or shamed him. Despite this bad behavior, one can overcome feelings of animosity if he rebukes the other person.

There are certain people who are incapable of receiving rebuke. They include the fools, the scoffers, and evil people. Their personality flaws do not allow them to hear the words that might bring about change. Nevertheless, the point of the Keli Yakar is that one who cannot bring himself to rebuke, is guilty of שנאת חינם, causeless hatred.

The rebuking is designed to remove “hatred in our hearts,” as we learn to get things off of our chest and move on. If we can’t let the other side know what they have done wrong, we might also be guilty of לא תטור, which forbids us from holding a grudge.

Admittedly, loving every Jew, can be one of the most challenging Mitzvot. We must meet the challenge, and learn how to forgive. Even if someone harms us and does not ask for forgiveness, we should still pray that he will bring himself to doing Teshuva, repentance.

Truly religious people would not curse their adversaries and wish that evil would come to them. We must love every Jew and sincerely hope that they will change their evil ways. This is quite challenging to get to such a point in our faith, but this is clearly what will be pleasing in the eyes of G-d.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at