“Don’t take revenge, don’t bear a grudge, love your friend like yourself, I am G-d. (Lev. 19:18)” These words are among the most well known Commandments in the Torah. Their simplicity and truth have resonated with people for thousands of years.
Yet these Mitzvos, which seem so logical and obvious in theory, seem nearly impossible to fulfill in practice.
“He refused to lend me his lawnmower, with no explanation, and I should happily lend him mine? I shouldn’t hold anything against him?!”
“That nephew of mine always asks me for favors and never shows an inkling of gratitude for all I’ve done for him. In fact, he’s downright rude. And I should love him with the same intensity that I love myself?!”
When we feel wronged, it is natural to have thoughts of retaliation and resentment. They often intensify the closer those people are to us. How is it possible, then, to live up to the expectations of this short verse?
The answer is found in the last words of the verse — “I am G-d.” You might feel like it’s impossible, but G-d has given every human being the ability to carry this out. By replacing revenge and grievance with love and understanding, the picture changes — sometimes instantly. Our attitude changes, our neighbor’s attitude changes, and we see the miraculous power within all of us to do the impossible. (Based on Sefer Tiferes Shimshon, HaRav Shimshon Pincus zt”l)