This was my faithwriters entry on the topic of Rage. It’s based on the Jewish story of the chain reaction that resulted in the destruction of the temple. It’s really interesting, and there’s way more to this story. These are just the first couple dominoes in big line up.
According to religious authorities, it was the reason the temple was destroyed and we are supposed to carefully guard against it.
But what is baseless hatred? Walking down the street and deciding to hate some random person?
But, looking deeper, baseless hatred isn’t that. In fact, it’s something many of us struggle with. It in fact does have a base, but a small, irrational one.
I’ll give you an example story.
Once there was a wealthy man living in Israel and he was having a feast for all of his friends. He had a friend named Kamsa and an enemy named Bar Kamsa. He sent out his servant to give the invitations, but the names of the two men were similar…
Bar Kamsa stared at the parchment in his hand. An invitation to Reuben’s feast? Had he gone mad? The man hated him with a passion! Bar Kamsa bit his lip,
Can he be serious? Can he possibly want to reconcile after all these years?
No way. It was probably a mistake. Think of the indignity! Going and taking food from my enemy. I’d be laughed out of town!
But Hashem would want us to reconcile. This has been wearing at my conscience for months now. This is the opportunity I’ve been looking for to make up with him…
Bar Kamsa took a deep breath, nodded and went back inside his house.
Enough grudges. He thought, I will accept.
The feast was going beautifully. Everyone loved the food, conversations bloomed and interesting insights into Torah were shared. Practically glowing, Reuben moved between the tables, embracing friends and sharing news.
Ah, it was good to see everyone again. There at the next table was Yaccov, Bar Kamsa, Avraham, Simeon…
Reuben’s eyes traveled back up the line, stopping on Bar Kamsa, who was talking with Avraham. A spark of anger lit in his chest and he narrowed his eyes at his enemy.
How dare he come here! On tonight of all nights! My special night to be with my friends, a night I planned for months, and what does he do? Comes here to crash it. To ruin my feast. I’ll get him for this. This one is unforgivable.
Reuben clenched his fists and his face reddened, but still, Bar Kamsa didn’t look his way.
“Sir!” his servant ran up behind him and stopped breathlessly. “Sir I’ve made a terrible mistake. I gave the invitation to Bar Kamsa, not Kamsa. I’m so sorry.”
Reuben unclenched his fists, confused.
So it’s not his fault. He came because he was invited.
The base for his anger was gone. For a second, Reuben wavered. Should he forgive his enemy and pretend nothing happened, or should he hang on to a grudge and what happened years ago? All the fiery hate in his belly suddenly solidified and a dark expression came over his face. His servant noticed.
Reuben shoved him to the side and thundered over to Bar Kamsa’s seat. He slammed his hand down on the table, jiggling the wine and making quite a few people jump.
“What are you doing here?” Reuben spat.
Bar Kamsa was shocked, “You invited me!”
“Lying dog!” Reuben pulled Bar Kamsa out of his seat by the back of his tunic.
Bar Kamsa pulled away and lowered his voice, “Listen, Reuben. I didn’t know that it was a mistake and I beg your forgiveness. Please, for the sake of my dignity and yours, let me stay, just for the rest of the meal, then I can slip out. I’ll even pay for my food.”
Reuben’s expression didn’t change. He grabbed Bar Kamsa’s arm and continued to drag him towards the door.
“Please, Reuben!” Bar Kamsa begged, “I’ll pay for half the party!”
Reuben stopped at the door and looked down at the man he hated so fiercely.
“I’ll pay for the whole party! Reuben, please forgive me! Can’t we just forgive?” Bar Kamsa was desperate.
Reuben pulled Bar Kamsa closer until he was only an inch off his nose.
“Never,” he hissed. He kicked open the door and shoved Bar Kamsa out into the dust.
Bar Kamsa looked up as the door closed. His face hardened, looking frighteningly like the expression that was just on his enemy’s face.
Neither man knew that their grudge would result in the destruction of the temple.
Please tell me what you thought!