Dealing with offensive comments from toxic individuals / A Torah Perspective

If you’ve lived long enough, then you know that some people can be great friends when you’re down and in need of help, but paradoxically, not necessarily such great friends when you’re doing great and thriving. It is even sadder and more painful, when this betrayal comes from members of your own family. This is what happens to Moses in our parshah.

Moses’s siblings, Miriam and Aaron, were always there for Moses when he was down, or in need of help. Miriam saved Moses’s life as an infant, and Aaron served as Moses’s spokesperson when Moses suffered from a speech impediment. But now that Moses is a huge “success story,” suddenly his siblings resent him for his elevated spirituality, and speak ill of him and his wife.

Many people, when faced with such malicious toxicity, can become incensed and enraged. They hurt, and they withdraw. They might even be tempted to “return the compliment” to the aggrieving party, who kidnapped their peace of mind and mental equilibrium. They talk about the offensive comments they were subjected to with countless others in order to self-validate, and they ruminate ad nauseam. In other words, such people, consciously or not, choose to take in the cancerous toxicity of the offending party, and usher such toxicity into their own holy of holies, into the sacred innards of their own soul. Not so Moses. Moses, rather than become enraged with the aggrieving party, prays for her.

Moses prays for Miriam, because he realizes that human toxicity is often-times indicative of an emotional and mental inner deficit. Moses understands that in many cases, toxic individuals are injured people, that they are psychologically unwell, and in need of healing, and that when toxic people attack others, they are simply vomiting out their own pain and sickness.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Sessler

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