Are People Really Insulting You? – the Woman Who Beat Up Her Husband

A friend came up to me on Shabbat. “I am really upset – This person treated me like a bum. My aide and I were sitting quietly and he told me that we don’t sit here like a bum.”

What am I to do? Tell him that he didn’t do it. He did it.

I said – maybe the person who complained thought you were someone else.

I told him a true story.

Once a rabbi with a beard was peacefully walking down the street. A woman walked up to him and started yelling. “How dare you come to my neighborhood! After all the pain you caused me when we were married! You have no shame?!” Her anger turned violent. She started hitting him with her purse. “take that!”

“Excuse me lady. I am not your ex-husband.” She took a good look and apologized. Oh I am sorry – I thought you were my ex. He caused me so much pain. Forgive me.”

A friend asked him – were you upset at her after what she did to you? He replied “No. She wasn’t beating me up – she was beating up her ex-husband.”

At times a person insults you. He might not be angry at you – perhaps he or she had a bad day and you happen to be in the way of that person’s anger.

You can take it personally. You can use it to change for the better. Or you can say perhaps the anger is directed at someone else or something else I did at another time.

D’var Torah on Ki Tisa

In parasha Ki Tisa (in Shemot / Exodus) it says

When you count the heads of the children of Israel  .. and you shall give an atonement for your souls & there will not be a plague…”  We do not count Jews by a having a headcount. Each gives Half a shekel and they are counted,  in order not to have a plague.  When one counts,  one limits the Berakha.

Another explanation is: The word for count is Tisa, which also means to uplift. When a person uplifts himself and other people by him growing & helping others to grow in Mitzvot, Torah study and giving tzedaka,  he prevents plagues and other bad things from happening in the first place.

The Chofetz Chaim was asked to donate a fixed price for each bed in new a hospital.  He said he would give a large number. They asked how could he afford that.  He replied by me studying Torah,  there will not need that amount of beds – for people will not become ill. 

Venatenu – in Hebrew for “and you shall give” can be read the same way frontwards and backwards.  A person who gives to a proper Torah charity will receive the money back – usually many times more.*