We are stretching in ahavas yisrael together to create z’chusim for K’lal Yisrael in these urgent times.
Last week’s stretch of the week was: The next time you are about to give a warning, say your positive desire instead: “I want you to wear a coat so you can stay warm and healthy!” rather than “You’re going to get sick!”
Please allow ONE person to share her experience with this exercise for ONE minute.
Taking A Deeper Look - Lesson #41
אסור קללה - ISSUR KLALLAH DO NOT CURSE
PART 2 – Do Not Curse a Deaf Person
Although the wording of the pasuk that informs us of the basic prohibition to curse is: "Do not curse a deaf person," this does not mean to imply that it is prohibited to curse only those who are hearing impaired. The wording of this passuk teaches us that we may not curse even someone who does not hear us and therefore will not suffer mental anguish after having heard the curse. The issue applies all the more to one who curses a person who does hear us and can be hurt by our words.
There are people who would never curse an individual, certainly not to his face, but who feel free to curse a group, a community, the inhabitants of a particular town, or even all of K’lal Yisrael. They are deeply mistaken in this matter, since cursing a group is also a violation of this issur, and as the Rambam states, the offender can never do complete teshuva, since there is no specific individual from whom he can ask m’chila.
Story: (based on a true story)
Sarah hated driving to Brooklyn -- the traffic, the zig-zagging one-way streets, trying to find a parking spot, but she was heading in for a simcha, so wasn't it all worth it?
Sarah located the hall, then began davening for a parking spot within a one block radius. She made a right, and there, about 3 cars from the corner, was a gleaming, empty spot, no fire hydrant, no driveways, no alternate side of the street parking. Sarah was thanking HaShem for so swiftly answering her tefillos as she carefully began to parallel park. As she was about to cut the wheel and pull in, a car suddenly pulled up alongside her. The driver was a woman in a sheitel, angrily motioning for Sarah to lower her window. Sarah didn't know if she should at first; the lady's face was contorted with anger, but she clearly looked Jewish, and maybe there was trouble or something she could help with.
Sarah didn't have time to even say, "Yes?"
"You're crazy!" the woman screamed to a flinching Sarah. "You're absolutely crazy, you know that? I turned the corner, and there you are..."
What, backing into a spot? Sarah thought as she rolled up the window. Her head and face flooded with shock. How could a frum lady in a sheital talk like that to another Jew? She looked through the window and still, the woman was screaming at her. Sarah was glad not to be able to hear it.
I'm usually very nice, thought Sarah to herself. I normally have very nice middos, but, you know what? This woman looks like an otherwise normal, put-together person, and obviously she thinks what she's doing is acceptable. Somebody needs to teach her a lesson.
And so, Sarah rolled down her window again. The screaming woman was so surprised, she actually paused in the middle of her tirade.
"You," Sarah said, "are an embarrassment to all frum women wearing sheitels. I hope your shaitel falls off your head, because you don't act frum."
The other woman's mouth dropped open, and Sarah was just getting riled up.
"HaShem should cause your car to break down. Then, no one will have to witness the chilul HaShem that you are. What, in Brooklyn, your Yiddishkeit flies out the window if you think someone took your spot?"
At this point, the woman rolled up her window and drove off, leaving Sarah to her new parking spot.
Discussion Question Options:
How do you think Sarah felt about herself?
How else could Sarah have acted?
Is there ever a time when it is okay to act with poor middos in response to someone else's poor middos? What about in a situation if a person is acting abusive?
Stretch of the Week:
Is there a segment of K’lal Yisrael that you have a problem with? Make it a point to make peace with your feelings toward this group by being dan l'kaf zchus, speaking with people who have a more sympathetic view of them, etc. HaShem doesn't want His children walking around with bad feelings about His other children.