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Forgiving and Kind Love

(3) He should cultivate magnanimity and patience when he hears words and witnesses deeds that are hateful, [and do so] for the blessed Creator’s sake, as it is said, “if I have returned evil unto him that was at peace with Me, yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy…”  (Psalms 7:5).   So also it is said “Say not, I will do so to him, as he hath done unto me”  (Proverbs 24:29).  Our wise men also said, “They who are put to shame and do not put others to shame, hear themselves reviled and do not retort; do everything out of love and rejoice in their own sufferings – concerning them Scripture saith ‘Let them that love Him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might'”  (Judges 5:31, T.B. Gittin 35,B.)  A person with these qualities is called by our sages “one who overcomes his natural temperament.”

(4) He should do good to human beings, speak well of them, judge them favorably, not speak disparagingly of them, even if they do not deserve this forbearance, as it is said, “Curse not the King, not even in thy thought”  (Eccl. 10:20).*  Further it is said, “Thou givest thy mouth to evil…Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slenderest thine own mother’s son” (Psalms 50:19).  In regard to forgiveness of evil speech and deprecation of others, Scripture says “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses” (Numbers 12:1) and then it adds, “Now the man Moses was very meek”… (ibid 12:3), for he forgave them.  Similarly the wise man counsels, “Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken” (Eccl 7:21), and adds “For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself hast cursed others” (ibid 7:22).

*Furstenthal expounds the verse thus: “Even when you are convinced that a man, king of all creatures, has acted wrongly, do not condemn him but judge him favorably.

(R. Bachya Ibn Paquda – Duties of the Heart, Ch. 6)

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