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Shabbat Parashat Balak 5776

Ein Ayah: The Price of Hatred

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:222)

Gemara: It is said in a baraita: Rabbi Nechemia said: Due to the sin of baseless hatred, a person experiences the following: quarrels enter his house, his wife has miscarriages, and his sons and daughters die when they are young.


Ein Ayah: All moral failings do not bring about the desired goal even according to the imagination of the delusional person who carries them out.  

The normal foundation of the phenomenon of hatred toward another person is connected to competition in one’s quest to acquire wealth. A basic reason that a person wants to accumulate wealth is to increase the honor of his household and bring success to the members of his family out of love for them. When he gets carried away with this pursuit, it turns the love for those around him into hatred for other people, who are out of his circle of people close to him.

If he does that, at the end, he will not acquire anything that he desires. The family itself, under the influence of internal deficiency due to a corrupt state of the spirit, will be full of animosity and exaggerated self-love. This will turn his home into a gathering of hateful people, as the pasuk says: “A man’s enemies are the people of his household” (Micha 7:6). All that he tries to accomplish will turn into things that cause him heartache. That is what Rabbi Nechemia means by saying that he will have quarrels within his household.

The progression of bad actions that stem from hatred toward other people will spiral into a destructive pattern that destroys the fabric of life. First, he loses the equilibrium and the tranquility that he needs for a productive life. Then the atmosphere of upheaval makes him lose the power he needs to progress in matters that require developing good things in practice according to their potential from among the hidden powers that develop society. In this realm, the gemara talks about his wife losing their unborn children.

When the dangerous atmosphere deteriorates further, the person loses even his greatest hopes, those that have already come into existence, and destroys them in the fullest degree. This is what Rabbi Nechemia means when saying that his sons and daughters will die when they are young.

It is the general power of love that gives the staying power to wait all the months of pregnancy with an internal understanding and without exaggerated excitement, which destroys the process. This approach also prepares the person to be able to properly give of himself or herself in caring for the children when they are young. When the ability to love properly is polluted by a spirit of hatred, the foundations are undone and the power of destruction is displayed in ways that are closest to a person’s heart and soul. It is necessary for the person to go back and cling to the ways of Hashem and love other people. After all, all people are the work of Hashem’s hand upon whom he bestowed the light of life.

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