Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sinas Chinam

The best part of the Nine Days being over is that you can write a blog piece ripping other people without some hand-wringer commenting how all of the blogs should be full of happy-feely stuff because sinas chinam destroyed the Bais HaMikdash. It's just that I find the term "sinas chinam" thrown around all over. The literal translation is "baseless hatred," and most of the time, when someone hates someone else, there's something to it, like the other guy screwed them over in business, or embarrassed them, etc. But how many people hate someone else for the heck of it?

Now according to the Torah, it would seem that any sort of Sinah is assur. The pasuk states simply that "one must not his brother in his heart," without distinguishing between baseless hatred and any other sort of hatred. But interestingly, the gemara which discusses the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash only focuses on baseless hatred. It seems like that is a step worse than hatred with a basis, and that's easy to understand. While the Torah forbids me to hate someone who screwed me over in business or was snobby to me in high school, that doesn't seem as wrong as hating someone for the heck of it.

- And a blog post that happens to criticize other people isn't "sinas chinam"! Just because someone criticizes other sects of Judaism doesn't mean they hate them. Heck, let's say I make fun of chassidim. I make fun of the Egyptian peyos and the broken English, whatever. It's wrong, it's immature, maybe there are elements of lashon hora in some cases. But is that sinas chinam? Just because I made fun of chassidim, that means I hate them? Doesn't sound very logical to me.

Frankly, I don't see that much "hatred" in the frum community. Obviously, many chareidim disagree with the MO, and vice versa. So maybe we don't necessarily love one another, which isn't too great. But "hate" is a strong word. How many of us really hate other Jews? Not just finding other people annoying, being indifferent to other, or just not being interested in having dinner with other Jews? But actual HATE?


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