We are commanded in Vayikra (19:18) "You shall neither take revenge nor bear a grudge against the members of your people".

Some people say, “I don’t hold grudges. I just hold memories that keep me better prepared for our next encounter.”

Is holding bad memories (against Jews of course) permitted according to the Halachah, for example, le’Toeles, in order to protect me from further hurt?

  • I edited your post based on your comments to Al’s answer. In the future, please make sure to add all relevant information to your question.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:12
  • Thank you. The reason I didn't write it originally, was because the additional questions merely became salient to me in reaction to Al's answer. Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:19

1 Answer 1


Rambam rules (Deos 7, 8) pretty clear:

"אֶלָּא יִמְחֶה הַדָּבָר מִלִּבּוֹ וְלֹא יִטְּרֶנּוּ.
שֶׁכָּל זְמַן שֶׁהוּא נוֹטֵר אֶת הַדָּבָר וְזוֹכְרוֹ שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹא לִנְקֹם."

"Forsooth, as long as he bears the matter and remembers it, he might be tempted to take vengeance. It is on account of this that the Torah is particular concerning the bearing of a grudge to blot such sin out of his heart and not remember it at all."

Edit: The further details on the Mitzvah of נטירה are very scarce, but it appears that Rambam hints that the prohibition of נקימה is the reason for נטירה. In other words, it would be forbidden to hold memories IF one intends to use them one day to act in vengeance. But if one holds the memories to protect himself from further damage it would be allowed.

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    If I know someone to be a "jerk", and have great difficulty every time time I interact with him, must I pretend that he's a saint, and get burnt all over again? Or may I remember this fact, le'toeles, in order to protect myself from further hurt? Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:05
  • @al berko I wonder if the rambam’s choice of the word נוטר is significant. It means to guard. Why not use the word זוכר? I think he’s saying that as long as you are guarding it and remember what happened you may come to revenge. As opposed to just remembering what happened and taking appropriate precautions.
    – mroll
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:10
  • @mroll He’s just using the wording of the passuk. Still an intriguing inference, though - that just pushes the question back.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:10
  • See Yoma 23a, which seems to indicate that bearing a grudge only relates to taking revenge over monetary matters ההוא בממון הוא דכתיב. Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:15
  • @IsraelReader See my edit.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 17:16

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