Shmuel Lemon

Is ahavat chinom the solution? 

Here are a few more examples…

But first, let’s just recap.

Baseless hatred means that there is no factual cause, no basis for the hatred. There may be a perceived one, but upon examination it is shown to be false.

We often hear or read about parents that are upset with a child for choosing a different path in life than the one that they expected their children to follow. They are concerned that this may harm the future prospects of shidduchim for the rest of the family and they are upset in not getting the nachas etc. they expected. They blame and resent the child for causing this. This resentment is the foundation of hatred.

In reality the child didn’t intend to cause any harm to the rest of the family and isn’t “the cause” of other people’s issues. The child is only expressing their need for autonomy and the freedom to choose the life that they want to follow. They have the right to choose their own path since they’re not their parents’ property! They haven’t been created to give other people nachas! (If a person would be obligated to sacrifice his need because others will be affected by his actions, then he would be totally immobilised.   Every action indirectly affects others.) As a result other members of the family may experience some difficulty in the future but that is just a by-product.

We often hear and read about children who are angry with their parents because their needs were neglected. They blame and resent them for being bad parents and causing them all their current problems.

In reality most parents do not intentionally neglect their children’s needs. They have just not been educated in the world of psychological and emotional needs; neither their own or others. They themselves are unaware that they are satisfying their own needs. They are not conscious that their preoccupation with what is going on in their own lives; to make a living, to find their place in society etc., is a need of theirs. They believe that what they are doing is what must be done, the right thing to do, not because they have a need to do so. Therefore although the children’s needs get neglected the parents are totally unaware of this since they are unaware of the child’s own needs. Parents can’t be blamed for what they caused others whilst being in a state of unawareness. They must become consciously aware of their child’s needs whilst taking care of their own needs.   Without being involved in self-awareness (cause) this cannot happen (effect) and baseless hatred can’t be avoided.

Friends at times are upset with each other. For example: A tells B that her boss spoke to her in a harsh tone.   B responds by saying that she should overlook what happened. A was expecting a bit of empathy and is upset that B doesn’t’ care about her feelings.   A blames and resents B for not receiving empathy.

In reality, B had no intention of causing A pain. B is a person who is not in touch with her own feelings and therefore this is the way she deals with these kinds of scenarios in her own personal life. As a result A will not receive empathy that she is craving for but that is just a by-product.   The resentful feeling is baseless.

Spouses at times believe that their spouse is intentionally withholding their love towards them as a punishment for not getting what they want.   They blame and resent them for causing them to feel unloved.

In reality, although at times this maybe true, many a time the spouse has no intention to punish the other to make them feel unloved. The reason why they withdraw is because they do not feel connected to the other spouse and therefore feel the human need to be distant.   This is cause and effect. (They actually need to be open and discuss the matter that is causing disconnection but are unable to as they lack self-awareness.)   As a result the spouse will experience feeling not being loved but that is just a by-product.

In all the above scenarios there is no valid reason to blame and be resentful.   It was based on a false perceived notion. There was never an intention to neglect children’s needs / to cause any harm to the family / to punish others or not to be empathetic.

This is referred to as sinat chinom.

When Moshe Rabainu rebukes the Jewish people (Devorim 1:27) for falsely accusing Hashem of hating them, Rashi explains that in reality it was they that hated Hashem. They were totally unaware (in denial) of their own feelings and accordingly misplaced the feelings upon Hashem imagining that, G-d forbid, Hashem hated them. This is baseless hatred. One result of a lack of self-awareness.

This is the meaning of “Kol Hapoisel Posel Bemumoi Poisel” (Kidushin 70a) – whoever points a finger at others is unconsciously pointing a finger at himself. It appears that it is only natural to blame others and hate them when there’s a lack of self-awareness – an awareness of one’s own deficiencies.

So I’m wondering, why are the Rabbis, counsellors and educators not speaking about this aspect of sinat chinom?

When will the rabbis, counsellors and educators make us aware that ahavat chinom is not the solution?

About the Author
Shmuel Lemon has been a communal orthodox Rabbi, teacher, educator and engaged with the Jewish community; presently residing in Edgware England. He had a chareidi background but now considers himself to be a plain orthodox Jew. He has experienced the pulse of today’s adults having being involved with different communities from different backgrounds especially in Israel and Johannesburg. He can be contacted at
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