How can you explain that sinas chinam is as bad as avodah zara, giluy arayos and shfichas damim? What makes hatred of a fellow Jew so bad that it’s put into the same category as those terrible aveiros?
Sinas chinam in a certain sense is the cause for everything else.
One of the Rishonim – I think it’s the Chovos Halvovos or Rabbeinu Saadya Gaon – said that one of the causes for a lack of emunah is the sinah towards ovdei Hashem. When people have an anger on their fellow Jews, it causes them to be not only displeased with them, but they’re displeased with the people in general; and even their ideals become to him mufrach. He doesn’t even like their ideals either.
I once heard the president of Agudas HaRabanim speaking fifty years ago. He said, “When people talk against rabbonim,” he said, “They don’t have any claim against them. It’s really a sinah to Torah. That’s what it really is.” When people have a sinah to frum Jews, they are soinim of Hashem. I’ll explain that.
אהבתי אתכם נאם השם – Hashem says to us, “I love you.” אוהב עמו ישראל! He loves the Am Yisroel! Wherever you look in the Torah in the Neviim and Kesuvim, Hashem says, “I love them!” So how could a person hate whom Hashem loves? So Hashem says, “If you hate My children, then you hate Me too!” And the Mesilas Yesharim says, אין הקב”ה אוהב אלא מי שאוהב את בניו – Hashem only loves someone who loves His children. You have to love his children.
So therefore, if a person has a sinah to a fellow Jew, he must know right away he’s a soineh Hashem because that Jew represents Hashem.
“Oh,” he says, “But other Jews I don’t hate – only him.”
It makes no difference. He is one of them. He represents those who Hakodosh Boruch Hu says about them, “That’s My people.” And therefore, ומקללך ארור. Anybody who curses a fellow Jew – he doesn’t have to curse; even if in his heart he’d like to see a misfortune come on his fellow Jew; a sameyach l’aid lo yinakeh! Even though it’s just in his heart, he’s not doing anything; he’s just waiting to see bad news from a fellow Jew, he should know that Hashem is already against him.
Now that’s the beginning of other things. Many people went out l’tarbus ra’ah as a result of machlokes with Jews. It could be sometimes, chalilah, it led to shfichas damim too. And it’s avodah zara because it means minus. If you can’t find in your heart to love the Jew who serves Hashem – after all he’s a frum Jew; his house is a kosher place and his children are learning Torah – so can you hate a Jew like that? Just because of some personal thing that he did to you? But he’s from the Am Yisroel! Hashem loves him! It means that Hashem is far from your mind. And therefore, that’s the beginning of avodah zara. Now although it’s not the act itself, but it certainly is chas v’shalom a makor for such acts.
TAPE # E-65