Healing the Pain of Rejection
August 1, 2019
Beis Moshiach in #1176, Bein HaMeitzarim, World news geula report

At some point all of us have experienced the pain of rejection, whether it was social, professional or personal. None of us likes the feeling of being considered inferior, unloved, unwanted or unvalued. MRIs have shown that social rejection activates the same areas in the brain as physical pain.

People use different methods to cope with rejection. Some use unhealthy coping mechanisms that only invite further rejection—for example, by responding with rage or by withdrawing from social contact. Others use rejection as a growing experience—trying to figure out ways to present themselves more positively, or by reminding themselves of their own strengths.

We are currently in the midst of the three-week mourning period commemorating the destruction of the BeisHamikdash. The destruction started with a bad case of rejection. The Talmud relates the story of a man who sent his servant to invite his good friend Kamtza to a party. Instead the servant invited Bar Kamtza, his mortal enemy. Bar Kamtza was pleased with the invitation, thinking that the host wanted a rapprochement. When he showed up, the host became angry and demanded that he leave. Bar Kamtza begged the host not to humiliate him publicly and offered to pay for his portion. The host refused. Bar Kamtza then offered to pay for half the party and then the entire party, but the host still ordered him ejected.

Bar Kamtza was so incensed at this rejection, which took place in the presence of all the rabbis and elites of Jerusalem, that he hatched a plot for revenge. He went to the Roman emperor and told him that the Jews were planning to rebel against him. “Send them an animal for a sacrifice and see if they offer it on the altar.” The emperor sent him with a fine calf.

On the way to Jerusalem, Bar Kamtza made a small blemish on the lip of the animal, rendering it unfit for a sacrifice. The animal was rejected by the rabbis and the emperor was informed. He became so enraged that he sent his general Vespasian to lay siege to Jerusalem.

The lesson we learn from Bar Kamtza is two-fold. One, we must always be sensitive to the pain of rejection, and do our utmost not to subject our fellow man to humiliation. At the same time, we need to develop positive coping skills to deal with rejection, rather than reacting with rage, which will only lead to further rejection.

Our sages say, “The Holy Temple was destroyed due to senseless hatred, and it will be rebuilt by senseless love.” To rebuild the Temple, we need to go to the opposite extreme, to show love and acceptance to everyone, without limit. This will lead to G-d embracing all of us once again and bringing us back to our true home, Jerusalem, with the complete Redemption.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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