Kenneth Cohen


The Torah does not place a great deal of emphasis on the emotion of hatred. We are told that we are not permitted to hate our brother in our heart.

We are to work on removing these very strong feelings against another person by rebuking him. That is, we are to let that person know why we are hurt by their actions. This gives them the chance to make things right. And if they don’t, we will feel some relief by getting things off our chest, and expressing our feelings.

Even when dealing with those that wish us great harm, we are not meant to sit around and talk about how much we despise that person. It is upon us, to take action. If it is a bad neighbor or friend, we separate from them. If it is an enemy of our people, we try to eliminate them. It is a huge waste to sit discuss how much we can’t stand that person.

I suddenly came to the realization that people who allow themselves to get worked up to the point, that they obsess about their hatred for another human being, demonstrating very weak character.

In politics, my candidate doesn’t always win. When someone I believe to be less competent takes office, I am disappointed and disturbed when I see my worst fears were realized. That individual may be causing great damage to that which I hold dear. However, I will never say that, “I hate that guy,” or wish that bad things happen to him. I will wait until the next election and hope for better days.

As we approach the High Holidays, the haters need to do some serious introspection. When I hear someone spouting their great animosity towards another person, it is a warning to keep away from that person. Such behavior shows a serious character flaw of intolerance and self righteousness. And that is certainly something worthy of repentance and asking for forgiveness.

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
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