Don’t Take Revenge

I’m studying Sefer HaChinuch — a 14th Century working enumerating all the mitzvas in the Torah — with a rabbi.

Today we studied the mitzva of not taking revenge.

If someone does something bad to me, I want to hurt them.

It’s uncanny how we all instinctively claw at another person’s weak points when they’ve harmed us.

Revenge is primal. I think Dennis Prager says that vengeance is just revenge. Revenge within moral boundaries.

Anyway, we’re not supposed to take revenge if we live by the Torah.

Why not? To increase peace.

Peace is almost the highest value in Judaism. Most of the time it seems to trump truth.

Here’s the part of the text that I found most interesting — that when other people do us ill, we should view it as the will of Heaven.

Now there is no way to know whether or not what happens to us is G-d’s will, but there are only two basic ways to look at it — either a destructive drunk driver and the like is G-d’s will or it is our bad luck when he hits us.

Those who believe that all things happen because of divine will are likely to be serene. Those who view bad things happening to good people as bad luck are likely to be filled with rage.

Which kind of person do you want to be around?

I prefer to be around serene people rather than ragers.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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