Question:

Coming from the midwest, I have always been told that I'm going to hell, that I'm wrong and evil and over all, I feel hated. Naturally I don't believe what they tell me, but it concerns me that I just want to lash back. Just like the hate they give me, I want to throw back at them. Rabbi, I need advice: what can I do when I am being persecuted to still respect and love my fellow man?

Response:

Dear A---

There were two brothers, a short older brother and a tall younger brother. Now if you were a child and had a younger brother who was taller than you, it would probably not feel so good. Neither did it feel so good for this older brother. So one day, while the two were playing outdoors, the older brother snuck up behind his younger brother and pushed him into a ditch. As the younger brother stood up in surprise, his older brother gleefully pointed out, "Look who's taller now!"

It just so happened that the boys' father was Rabbi Shmuel, the Rebbe of Lubavitch at the time, and he had observed the entire incident. The Rebbe now asked for a chair and asked his older son to stand on it. "Tell me," he asked, "who's taller now?" The older brother excitedly answered that once again he was taller. "Aha!" said Rabbi Shmuel. "To be bigger than your friend, there is no need to pull him down. Simply pull yourself up!"

A----, you need to be bigger than those around you who spout their negative and hateful beliefs at you. But the way to do that is to "get up on a chair." Elevate yourself. Bring yourself to a higher, more spiritual place, where their comments will not affect you any more.

How? You are probably studying Torah. Study more. But not just the dos and don'ts of Torah. Study its inner soul. Chassidus in particular provides a pair of glasses to view Judaism as a beautiful gift, a precious heritage. It deals with the nature of G‑d, the essence of the soul, what is a Jew, what is Torah, why we are here. It gives you the answers…

I happen to know personally the Chabad Rabbi and Rebbetzin of Chabad House of your community, two wonderful, caring, committed people. I suggest that you contact them at their Chabad House phone—xxx-xxx-xxxx—and begin the process of getting taller.