Our traditions in treating each other rock

I have been thinking today that some of the BALC mitzvas (bein adam l’chaveiro – man to man mitzvas) rock. Sometimes it’s so hard for me to appreciate the tradition I’ve grown up with because I’m so entrenched in it that I don’t even recognize the beauty. And other times I get a moment of clarity where I experience a feeling of, “Wow. What an awesome tradition.”

There are specifically three mitzvas I’m thinking of right now.

First, the idea of forgiving. I was rude the other day to someone and I felt so bad. I tried apologizing a few times and the person just wouldn’t forgive me. Does he not believe that I’m sincere? Did he not feel like I deserved to be forgiven?

In the Torah we are taught about the importance of forgiving and being forgiven. It was instilled in me the fact (yes, I believe it’s a fact) that it is so negative to keep possession of someone’s forgiveness… if it makes sense to say it that way. I know that if this person had been brought up with a stronger Jewish base, there would have been a much higher chance of him being giving in his forgiveness. I’m hurt that he wouldn’t forgive me but at the same time I feel sad that he doesn’t have this ideal in his life.

The second thing lashon hara, “bad speech,” is basically speaking about others when it isn’t necessary.

Today I found out something from a person who is very close to me. For years she never told me this piece of information even though we’re very close and it’s a pretty big thing in her life. But because she never felt like there was any real use in telling me this, she never did. Now, she only told me because within a certain context it seemed like it was useful to share it.

When I found this out, I just thought, “Wow. How special. How beautiful that I never knew this because she didn’t want to talk to me about someone else unless it was really necessary.”

The third is about embarrassing people. You don’t have to put too much thought into it if you try to build your life upon the traditions of the Torah. The bottom line is, don’t. Embarrassing someone is like murder, according to the Torah (where is the quote from?). And that’s the end of the discussion. (I thought about this one because of a blog post I read today which you can click here to read.)

It puts it into context and helps you realize its severity.

It’s funny because I’m no long “Orthodox” per se but I still feel like I get so much out of my upbringing and out of continuing to live a very Jewish life.

Thank God. :)

P.S. Now if only we could implement these beautiful traditions.


2 thoughts on “Our traditions in treating each other rock

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  1. I think that the inability to forgive also stems from a lack of humility, which is also an integral part of Judaism’s teachings. If we do not forgive others, it means that we believe that we are above making that same error, and that we never have and never will do what the other person did.

    The more aware we are of our own flaws and inadequacies, the more we can forgive, as well as control our anger towards others.

    I’m not saying we should wallow in negative feelings about ourselves – that’s also not right. We need to find the balance between feeling that we are good, worthwhile, etc., but not perfect.

    1. It’s true but the opposite is true too. Or so I think. That his inability to forgive could stem from a major lack of self esteem. Someone who thinks highly of themselves doesn’t need others to treat them perfectly in order to keep feeling good. Someone who doesn’t feel good about themselves, their foundations are shaken when someone doesn’t treat them nicely.

      And again we could say that goes back to Judaism which says we need to remember we are created in the image of God. So we don’t have to worry what others think about us or say to us because we know inside that we’re pretty damn great.

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