How should I deal with people who are nasty or unpleasant? Should I be nice to them?
And the answer to that is a resounding yes. Look, if it’s a person with whom there is no use talking because the more you talk the more insolent he becomes, then make it as short as you possibly can. But still it pays to be friendly with everybody, even reshaim, because it takes the edge off their wickedness.
Of course, if it’s a real rasha, a danger, then if it’s possible to get rid of him – I mean legally of course – then do it. But if it’s not possible then you have to deal with him in a friendly way because that will take the sharp points off his claws. Because if you start up with him, then you’re sharpening his claws and the next Jew will get it even more. And if it’s an unfriendly Jew, then that’s the way to disarm him as well. In general, that’s the way to disarm people. Be polite and diplomatic and by doing so you will win out in every respect. You will never lose out by using your seichel – and seichel means being friendly.
TAPE # 162 (April 1977)