True Emotional Freedom

Sivan Rahav-Meir: Why not hate the person responsible for this?

Do not remain enslaved to negative emotions. All this does not mean that you should love them, but you should learn to get out of this ordeal. To rebuild life, as free people

(Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90; small photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

I once knew a couple who got divorced – and then invested all their effort into revenge. In a certain sense, they didn't truly separate; they woke up in the morning and thought about how to harm the other.

I once worked with someone who spent her entire life being angry at a former boss she had, and everything she did was colored by the hurt she had experienced at a different workplace.

This week's Torah portion asks of us: "You shall not abhor an Egyptian." Wait, but the Egyptians did terrible things to us, so why shouldn't we despise Pharaoh? Why not detest those responsible for our cruel enslavement?

Our commentators explain this instruction: First and foremost, look at the bigger picture. Egypt, after all, was initially a place of hospitality, and in addition, the Egyptians did receive their punishment. But beyond that, simply don't construct your life on hatred. Don't perpetuate the trauma.

If you continue to constantly despise Egypt, if you live all the time in anger and rage, you will remain enslaved. Not physically enslaved, but rather enslaved in your soul. Do not remain enslaved to negative emotions. All this doesn't mean you have to love them, but you need to learn to move beyond this difficult experience. To rebuild your life anew, as free people.

The month of Elul is an opportunity to examine: Do we also have such slavery, such hatred, that has been enslaving us until today? Can we try to break free?

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