Chukat: Dealing With Resentment

June 9, 2021

There are times when we are offended by the words or actions of others. We don’t seek revenge, and when asked, we even forgive. But the bitter grudge remains. How can we free our hearts of those negative impulses?

A: The Snake of Forgiveness

In this week’s Torah portion, G-d commands Moses to build a copper snake as a source of healing for all those who spoke against him and were susequently bitten by snakes. Rashi says that this is a lesson in forgiveness. His comment comes from the Midrash, which also mentions the special forgiveness of Abraham (source 1). What was Abraham’s story? See source 2.

The Rebbe cites the Rashi on our verse and asks: Is this really Torah’s first lesson about forgiveness? Rashi’s very source speaks about Abraham, who lived much earlier and likewise granted forgiveness—despite being in a much more difficult situation!

B: Make it Your Own

A few weeks ago, we read how G-d told Moses to fashion trumpets. Curiously, G-d said, “make for yourself,” i.e., as Rashi explains, fashion them with your own resources (source 3).

Interestingly, the Rebbe points out, our story uses the very same terminology—Moses was to pay for the copper snake himself. Why? Herein lies the special lesson in forgiveness which Rashi alluded to.

C: Forgive and Forget

True forgiveness is when you demonstrate that there is no grudge left in your heart; outward forgiveness is not enough. By paying for the copper snake, Moses demonstrated that he forgave the people fully, despite their offence. That is what makes this Torah portion so unique.

A Story: Sender the Tea Merchant



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