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.