Project Genesis

“Turning the Other Cheek”

Question: What does Judaism teach about forgiving others for wrongs done to you? Is one expected to endure repeated hateful actions and to forgive endlessly? According to Jewish teachings, is it wrong to terminate a relationship with a sibling who repeatedly commits hurtful acts upon their parent? Christianity teaches forgiveness, but what does Judaism say?

Answer: Judaism does not believe in ‘turning the other cheek’. That is a Christian concept. We do believe in always trying to resolve conflict whenever possible, but there is also a principle that one’s own life is given precedence over someone else’s.

Obviously, I don’t know the details of the case you are referring to, but it sounds to me as though continuing this hurtful relationship is doing tremendous damage (perhaps physical, but certainly emotional, psychological, and spiritual). It is important to always allow an opening for reconciliation at a later date, but there are times when one must temporarily end a relationship to preserve one’s own well being.

I hope this helps.


Rabbi David Sedley

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