V He retaineth not His anger forever
This is yet another divine quality, that even when man persists in sinning the Holy One, Blessed is He, dos not persist in retaining His anger and even when He does it is not for ever but He allows His anger to abate even when man does not repent; as we find in the days of Jeroboam, son of Joash,[1] that the Holy One, Blessed is He, restored the border of Israel. Though they were unrepentant calf-worshippers He had mercy upon them. Why did He have mercy upon them? Because of this quality of not retaining His anger forever. On the contrary, He allows His anger to lose its force and though the sin still lingers He does not punish but ever longs, compassionately, for man's repentance. Hence it is written: 'For I will not contend[2] for ever, neither will I bear grudge.' For the Holy One, Blessed is He, show both severity and tenderness to Israel for their benefit.

This is is the quality which a man should make his own in dealings with his neighbor or his own children who suffer as a result he should, because of this, not persist in his rebuke nor linger in his anger but make an end and not retain ire for ever. This applies even where such anger is permissible: for instance, in the case expounded by the Rabbis on the verse: 'When thou seest the ass of thine enemy[3] ...,' they explain[4] that this enmity refers to the man who sees his neighbor commit a sin but when there is no other person present so that he cannot be testified against in a Court of Law. In this case it is permitted to hate the sinner for the offence he has commited but, nonetheless, the Torah says: 'AZOBH TA'AZOBH 'IMMO[5] ('Thou shalt surely help him'), explained by the Rabbis to mean: 'Thou shalt leave aside[6] that which is in thy heart.' It is a religious duty to encourage him lovingly, and, perhaps, this way of dealing with him will succeed. This is the very quality of which he have spoken: 'He retaineth not His anger forever.'

VI Because He delighteth in Mercy
Behold I have already explained elsewhere[7] that there are angels in a certain celestial palace whose function it is to recieve the kindness done by man and when the divine quality of justice please against Israel these angels immediately bring that kindness to the notice of the Holy One, Blessed is He, Who has mercy upon Israel, for He delighteth in mercy. Even when they are guilty He has mercy upon them if they are kind to one another. As it was in the time of the destruction of the Temple when Gabriel was told[8]: 'Go in between the wheelwork..' For Gabriel is the prince of justice and power and permission was given him to recieve the power of justice from between the wheelwork from under the cherubim from the fire of the altar - namely, the judgment of the power of Sovereignty[9] - so that the force of judgment became so strong that it sought to destroy utterly, to exterminate the germ[10] of Israel, for they were deserving of annihilation. But it is written: And there appeared[11] in the cherubim the form of a man's hand under their wings.' That is, the Holy One, Blessed is He, said to Gabriel[12]:
'They do kindness[13] one to another so that even if they are guilty they shall be spared and have a remnant.' The reason is because He delighteth in mercy. He delighteth in the mercy which Israel does one to the other and remembers this aspect even when they are guilty from another point of view. It is fitting, therefore, that man make this quality his own. Even when he is offended or provoked, if the offender has his good points in that he is kind to others or he possesses some other good quality this should be sufficient to soothe his anger so that his heart is pleased with him and he delights in the kindness he does. And he should say: 'It is enough for me that he possesses this good quality.' How much more so with regard to one's wife, as the Rabbi's say:[14] 'It is enough that they rear our children and save us from sin.' So he should say with regard to all men: 'It is enough for me that he has shown me or another man kindness or that he possesses this particular good quality.' And he should delight in mercy.

in the days of Jereoboam, son of Joash. 'He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the see of Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah the son of Amittai the Prophet, who was of Gath-hepher' (II Kings XIV, 25)

For I will not contend Is. LVII 16. But C., quoting from memory, substitutes the word 'etor (bear grudge) after Jer. III. 12 for 'aribh (be wroth).

the ass of thine enemy Ex. XXIII 5

they explain Pes. 113b. The Rabbis ask: is it permitted to hate another? Their reply is that it is permitted to hate the unrepentant sinner. But if there are more than two witnesses to the crime then he is the enemy of all Israel and would not be spoken of as 'thine enemy.' The verse must speak of the man who is a solitary witness to the crime of another.


thou shalt leave aside...A play on words, 'azobh can mean both 'help' and 'leave', hence the interpretation 'thou shalt leave aside that which is in thy heart' i.e, the hatred you feel, v. Targum Onkelos to EX. XXIII 5

explained elsewhere Pardes Rimmonim, Sha'ar Hekhaloth, Chapter V, cf, Zohar II, p. 253a.

when Gabriel was told 'And he spoke unto the man clothed in linen, and said: "Go in between the wheelwork, even under the cherub, and fill both thy hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and dash them against the city"' (Ezek. X. 2)

Soverignty i.e., the Sephirah, Soverignty, symbolized in Kabbalistic writings as the altar, cf. Zohar III, 29a-30b

exterminate the germ Lit. 'smash the egg' this is a common Rabbinic expression for complete annhilation. v. Jer. Tal. A.Z. IV, 44a, Lev. R II, Esther R. I and freq.

And there appeared Ezek. X.8

Gabriel The prince of Justice in Rabbinic literature - Gabriel=Power of God C. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, Phil. 1942, Vol. V, p. 396, note 40.

They do kindness... C's source is the Midrash (Lev. R. end of section 26): 'For six years these coals were glowing in Gabriel's hand for he thought that Israel would repent. Seeing that they did not repent he thought to hurl the coals at them and exterminate their germ. Said the Holy One, Blessed is He, to Gabriel: "Gabriel, there are among them men who do charity one to the other" as it is said: "And there appeared in the cherubim the form of a man's hand..."' i.e. charity, which is given by the hand.

as the Rabbis say 'R. Hiyya was constantly tormented by his wife. Nevertheless, whenever he obtained anything suitable he wrapped it up in his scarf and brought it to her. Said Rabh to him "But, surely, she torments the Master!" "It is sufficient for us," he replied, "that they rear our children and save us from sin"' (Yeb. 63a-b)