The 9th of Av is fast approaching and it is time, yet again, to review the circumstances surrounding the 1st and 2nd Temple’s destruction (the 1st temple was destroyed by the Babylonian’s in 598 BCE and the 2nd temple by the Roman’s in 70 CE on the exact same day - 9th of the Hebrew month AV - as explained at length in the Talmud.) Explain the Sages, whereas the 1st temple fell because the people failed to show proper respect for the Sages, the 2nd temple fell because of the great sin called “Sinat Chinam”, Hebrew for, “Baseless hatred.” Question: Disrespect I understand since I have disrespected others and they have disrespected me, but what is “baseless hatred?”
To understand “baseless hatred” we must first understand “baseless love.” Let’s begin with the word “baseless”, what does it mean? Simply defined, “baseless” means, “without reason” - above the mind. Explains Kabbalah, a person’s love of others is directly rooted in (and is proportionate to) his/her selflessness - the ability to transcend the self. When I love another, being careful to set aside my own self interest, I achieve a lasting love - a love that knows no limitations. And why is “selfless love” - love above mind - everlasting? Because it doesn’t accord with reason. To clarify, if a reason does exist, if love (or any emotion) is based on the mind’s condition, then the love is temporary (for should the “reason”, the source of the love, cease, the love itself will cease.) In the language of the Talmud, “A love that is dependent on something when that thing ceases, the love also ceases. But a love that is not dependent on something never dies” (Chapters of our Fathers, 5:16.)
From the above definition of “baseless love” we can readily understand the meaning of “baseless hatred” (the cause of the 2nd temple’s destruction.) Similar to love, any hatred spawned by reason (sourced in the mind’s perception) can be easily overturned if the reason itself ceases to exist. And similar to love, if the hatred is sourced “above mind” (doesn’t have a reason) it never dies. For example, if Reuben hates Shimon because Shimon spoke bad about him (a hatred sourced in reason), then if Shimon apologized (thud removing the reason), the hatred would cease. But if, God forbid, Reuben hates Shimon just “because” (there is no reason to which the hatred can be attached), then the hatred is forever!
To fix baseless hatred (and merit the rebuilding of God’s holy temple, His house of love), we must first begin by converting “baseless” hatred into “baseless” (selfless) love. Next time you stroll into a communal setting and that special “someone” invokes a feeling of strong dislike, pause and determine (using your mind’s eye) the nature for the hatred: reason or baseless. If a reason should exist, see to it you resolve your antipathy (negate the hatred) by negating its reason, i.e. work it out. But if the hatred is of the baseless variety (above mind) convert it into its equivalent love, love without reason. Simply set the emotion aside and show unexpected and senseless kindness.
May we speedily merit to convert our senseless hatred into senseless love. Labour hard, for your every kindness (especially the selfless variety) adds a brick to the metaphysical temple that will soon, very soon, materialize to become part of our everyday earthly experience.