Project Genesis

Reacting to Someone Who Wrongs You

A friend and I have been studying Proverbs on the weekends. We got up to chapter 25:21-22 where it says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him bread; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. For coals you are shoveling upon his head, and G-d will repay you.” What does this mean?

The message of the verse would seem to be that if someone wrongs you, don’t repay wrong with wrong. Instead do a kindness to this person. It will shock him (like shoveling coals on his head), and may even be unwelcome. Hopefully, however, the shock of your kindness will lead him to rethink his behavior. Either way, G-d will certainly repay you kindly for your attempts to break the cycle of enmity.

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