The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being

STUCK on DESPISING

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despise What?  You don’t despise anything?  Anyone?

Sure you do.

Everyone does.

If they are honest.

One of my new year (Jewish) resolutions this year is to study more Torah on a regular basis.

And, the way I intend to make that happen is to commit to reading at least one aliyah from the weekly Torah reading at our kibbutz synagogue each week.

And, to study with my chevruta (study partner) prior to each Shabbat, so that I understand on a deeper level what I will be reading.

I intend to start at the beginning, with Genesis (Breishit), but to get myself practicing, I already read an aliyah this past Shabbat.

The portion of the week was – Ki Tetzeh.

Which is filled with tons of practical commandments.

I read the 4th aliyah and so, this is what I studied with my study partner.

The first sentence (Deuteronomy: 23:8) read: “You shall not despise an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not despise an Egyptian, for you were a sojourner in his land.”  We studied and discussed this one sentence for about an hour.

Now, considering the history of the Edomite (the descendants of Esau) and Egyptian people (slave masters of Israel), both of whom harmed the Jewish people mightily, it is curious what the Torah seems to be trying to teach us.

That we should not be stuck on despising them (or anyone?), no matter what their previous behavior was.

Now, that’s a tricky one.

My first though went to the Germans (with the history of the Holocaust).  Is the Torah trying to teach me not to despise Germans?

Yet, the Torah does not continue to go on and say what will happen to use if we choose to despise them: that we would become unhappy, or become blinded by reality, or distance ourselves from the Creator.

But, I am going to assume that.

Because, as I continue to practice letting go of whatever branch my ego is hanging on to, I can see the power of letting go of despising.

Certainly a neighbor, a community member, or even a family member, who probably did far less than the Edomite or Egyptian did to us as a people.

What do you think?

Can you admit to despising someone?  Something?

Can you consider getting off the branch?

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Author: Shira Taylor Gura

Well-Being Coach, Podcast Host, Author of the award winning book, Getting unSTUCK: 5 Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being.

One thought on “STUCK on DESPISING

  1. Shira, it is great studying with you. And much strength on your new year resolution.
    I think the answer to part of your questions can be found several verses earlier. The phrase about the Moabites . Ruth is a Moabite and our king and messiah are descendent of her.
    I think that it is in human nature to have two kinds of feelings and inclinations . Opposite are required for existence. Opposites are as close as they are distant. The word ” tetaev” ( and I am not sure if it appears elsewhere in the bible ) can maybe mean something else than despise. Maybe it is the moment when one ask himself if he should love or despise.
    The Torah has so many esoteric words, meanings and hints. I too am trying to dive into them. I am fascinated by the language and choice of words, and I discovered that many words have been translated or interpreted wrongly , sometimes causing a derivation from the true meaning.

    ישר כוחך
    חיזקי ואימצי
    דינה

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