Sinat Chinam: The Great Tisha B'Av Crime

What Is Baseless Hatred, Anyway?

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman


There is a famous quote in the Talmud about Tisha B’Av: “The temple was only destroyed because of sinat chinam” – translated as ‘baseless hatred.’ If we understand the Talmud literally, it would appear that on Tisha B’Av we should focus on removing baseless hatred from our hearts. But there’s a problem with this: how often are we really tempted to hate somebody baselessly?

When we think of people we hate, there is usually a reason. So what does sinat chinam actually mean? And what are we supposed to do on Tisha B’Av to remove it from our hearts?

Join Rabbi Fohrman as he explores the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, looking carefully at the connection between the different episodes of the story as a window into our own tendencies of anger.