Friday, July 27, 2007


We do not hate people for being different from us. We hate people because we see too much of ourselves in them. [1]

After initially denying this, I have come to see it as a truth. There is only one person I truly hate, and I realize that we share the same character traits. I have the potential to be exactly who she is and to be exactly what she was to me. It is that potential in myself that scares me. There are times that I recognize that I am acting like her and I am horrified.

Or as Rashi would say, "Mum she'bcha..."

The flaw that is in your friend is truly in you.


[1] I realize this is a very broad statement. You can effectively argue that we hate people because we do not understand them ("Mob Song" in Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorites) or that hate is engineered as a social mechanism by a political power. I agree that this is all true. But on the most basic level of all, I think hatred stems from the realization that we are the same. We struggle to create difference where there is none. We cannot forgive the person for being so akin to us, so alike, because we are horrified by what we see them do, what we have the potential to do- what we perhaps have done.


Erachet said...

Do you think there is a distinct difference between hatred and complete lack of respect that you can barely tolerate the person? Because I can't say I've felt the former towards people I personally know (and I'm therefore excluding all terrorists, etc.), but I have most definitely felt the latter. I have immensely disliked to the point of intolerance certain people for no reason other than I couldn't STAND their personalities or the way they behaved - and usually it wasn't even because they were behaving badly. And I don't think it's because I see myself in them, either, because I definitely don't.

haKiruv said...


...these are all seductions from the dark side of the Force.

Chana said...

And yet, have you never noticed the deeply ironic "Use your feelings, Anakin!" from the light side of the force?


haKiruv said...

Exactly. Feelings can't be trusted and are ambiguous. Feelings are more like tools.

It's phrases like that where I would have issues with Obi-Wan too if I were Anakin and go off the derech. But, that's the whole purpose of the Force being unbalanced in the movies(why else would there need one to bring about balance?). Both sides were blind and wrong.

Know this however, if you choose to accept the title Darth Chana, I and my brethren will chase you to the far reaches of the Galaxy where we will battle to the death.

Anonymous said...

"And yet, have you never noticed the deeply ironic "Use your feelings, Anakin!" from the light side of the force?"

Mmmmmmmm, yes...Use your feelings, you must, let your feelings use you, do not.

Diet Dr. Pepper said...

I thought the end of Rashi's statement is "... al tomar l'chaveircha."

Is he even saying that defects that you perceive in others are in fact your own? When first learning this statement, I didn't think (and am still not sure) that this is Rashi's intent.

Chana said...

Out of curiosity, how did you understand the Rashi?

Diet Dr. Pepper said...

I think that I originally learned/interpreted the Rashi as a piece of advice: do not criticize your fellow for a failing that you yourself have. Basically, don't be a hypocrite.

Unfortunately, I don't remember where this Rashi is found, so I can't look it up. I vaguely remember learning it in seventh grade, so maybe it's found in commentary on Sefer Bamidbar.

Unknown said...

I hear it. It's a nasty one to face, but I hear it. The people that rub me the wrong way are usually rubbing me in a place I don't hold so well in myself.

I spent a good few days looking into spiritual dynamics of reflection a little while ago.

(and thanks for the Blog)

Anonymous said...

I've heard this theory a lot in the past. I think it works for hating people on a personal level, but not for hatred directed against a particular group, which I think is more likely due to the reasons you mentioned in your footnote.

Ezzie said...

I'm going to go with very broad. I think it is often a reason we hate, but I think your footnote is better, particularly "because we are horrified by what we see them do, what we have the potential to do".

The things that bother us the most is that they ARE different from us because of the choices they make - choices that we ourselves have chosen NOT to make. It's not that we see ourselves in them, but that we wonder how they could make that (wrong) choice.

But that's only sometimes. Other times, you're correct - I've often told people simply "Yes, you can't stand each [----] because they're exactly like you." Not even mean - but sometimes, we do hate those who are like us because their flaws are the ones we have and can't stand.

Scraps said...

I agree.

Diet Dr. Pepper said...


Today's Shmiras Halashon Yomi includes this lesson:
"Our Sages tell us (Kiddushin 70a) that one who degrades another person often does so regarding the very fault which he himself possesses. Sometimes, we notice faults in others because we have them within ourselves."
Thought you would enjoy it.