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Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Eliminating Senseless Hatred

Tomorrow, August 7th is Tisha B'Av, a day on which we focus on disasters that befell the Jewish People throughout history. One of the primary goals of this day is to improve ourselves in the realization that we are the cause of many of our personal and national calamities. The Aish site has lots of meaningful articles about Tisha B'Av.

The Talmud states that the primary cause of the destruction of much of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 was senseless hatred. Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller explains that hatred is senseless when there is no desire to improve the relationship between oneself and another person.

The remedy to this hatred is sometimes referred to as Senseless Love. Rebbetzin Heller explains:

Maimonides offers a formula that has often been referred to as "senseless love." We must reach out to each other without agendas that corrupt into another form of acquisition. The process is transformative in the way that it changes our focus:

- We are obligated to speak well of other people, sharing our joy at having glimpsed his/her inner beauty. The act of speaking positively allies us to each other. It makes us aware that we are on one team.

- We are obligated to care for each other's material needs. By being aware of how frail and needy our bodies make us, we become more forgiving and tolerant.

- We are obligated to seek out situations that bring honor to others. By doing so, we give them the precious gift of self-esteem and simultaneously remove ourselves from the egotistical traps of center stage.

This three-step process is deceptively simple. Yet it can change us dramatically. It can change not only our relationship to others, but can lead us to rediscover ourselves. In doing so, the endless mourning for our lost selves, and for our national tragedies, will cease.

The blogging, technical and political spheres can use a lot of senseless love. The biggest challenge is when we disagree with others. I am trying to improve in this area and if you see me failing, a respectful slapdown would be welcome. For those who are fasting - have a meaningful fast.