web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


‘A Time To Hate’ (Back)

Kupfer-062113

The 21 days of semi-mourning that is collectively referred to as the Three Weeks, culminating with the fast day of Tisha b’Av – the ultimate day of mourning in the Jewish calendar – begins in a few short days. During this period of time Jews reflect on the myriad of tragedies that have befallen us since the destruction of the Holy Temple and our subsequent exile.

Over the centuries since that calamity, Jews were subjected to numerous massacres and massive annihilations that decimated our nation – many of which took place in the month of Av, in particular on the ninth day.

My mother a’h observed Rosh Chodesh Av as her parents’ yahrzeit for that was the day they and thousands of bewildered, innocent Jews arrived in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz. Middle aged, they were deemed too old to be productive slave laborers and sent to perish in the gas chambers. Their bodies literally went up in smoke, as they were shoveled into the death camp’s crematoria – a final act of flagrant degradation. Cremation is forbidden according to Jewish law. Jews are buried, and their burial places revered and visited on the anniversary of their death. As stated in Kohelet 3:20 “all came from the dust, and all return to the dust.”

The wise Shlomo HaMelech, author of Kohelet points out that there is a season for everything – including a time to love and a time to hate (Kohelet 3:8).

As a young child of Holocaust survivors, I instinctively internalized the later feeling, deriving satisfaction when, for example, I heard of a train derailment in Germany with many fatalities. I would think to myself, let these people, the generation of Hitler and their descendants feel the inconsolable sorrow and grief of losing a beloved family member abruptly and unnaturally.

After all there is the biblical precept of Midda ke’neged midda – what goes around comes around. (The term used in the secular world is “payback.”)

I admit that I initially questioned this mind set – after all, we dip droplets of wine out of our cups at the Seder table when recounting the 10 plagues that the Egyptians were subjected to – to show some sympathy for their suffering.

We are thus taught not to enjoy the misery of our enemies. Was I then being cruel to “celebrate” the death and injury of men, women and children who may not have been old enough to participate in the Nazi genocide?

I found the answer to my dilemma in the Torah. We are strongly exhorted to “Zechor et asher asah lecha Amalek, Remember what Amalek did to you… You shall erase the memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens, you shall not forget.”

To that end Shaul HaMelech was divinely commanded to kill every living thing connected to Amalek – even animals and livestock (Devarim 25:17-19). When he failed to do so, his very human trait of “mercy” was considered to be such a transgression that his kingship was taken away from him and bestowed on David and his descendants. Sometimes you have to suppress your innate kindness in order to ensure your wellbeing.

As stated in Kohelet Rabbah (7:16:):“Those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind.”

Some would argue that hate is self-destructive, that it can consume one’s focus so that one becomes oblivious to the joys and pleasures in front of them. I agree that any extreme emotion is harmful but a modicum of hatred, like pain is necessary.

Without the pain, for example, of a toothache, we would not know that there is an infection in the root that could become life threatening. If there was no pain, we might not realize the water in the bathtub is too hot and scalding. In fact there are people who have a rare medical condition that prevents them from feeling pain. A child could have a rusty nail in her foot and not be aware of it. Those who never feel pain are at great risk of dying due to a lack of awareness of a serious, medical crisis.

So too, a measure of passive hatred (as opposed to active hatred – you don’t physically go and punch someone out just for sneering at your obvious Jewish self ) can make one become more vigilant, more attuned to outside threats, giving you the heads up to possibly avoid or deflect it.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “‘A Time To Hate’ (Back)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    well said and yishar koach. RABBI Dr. BERNHARD ROSENBERG 2g.

  2. Anonymous says:

    TO all those leading the fight against the holocaust claims conference. Things have become to quiet. They just want the bad news to go away. We cannot allow this. Feel free to use my name and title anyway that will help..I BELIEVE I AM THE ONLY RABBI OUT IN FRONT. I HAVE SENT REQUESTS FOR HELP TO HUNDREDS OF RABBIS. THEY JUST DO NOT CARE OR DO NOT WANT TO GET INTO POLITICAL TROUBLE. IT WOULD HELP IF HOLOCAUST ORGANIZATIONS OR PROMINENT LEADERS RECOGNIZED MY EFFORTS IN PUBLIC. MAYBE WE COULD GET PUBLICITY. I SEEK NOTHING IN RETURN. MY PARENTS HAVE BEEN LONG DEAD. THIS FIGHT IS FOR THE SURVIVORS AND IN MEMORY OF MY PARENTS AND RELATIVES MURDERED BY THE NAZIS. I NEED YOUR HELP. I am willing to take whatever they throw at me. my reputation as a fighter for holocaust memory and the survivors is well known. We are DAVID FIGHTING GOLIATH. SOME OF YOU HAVE MAJOR CONTACTS I DO NOT HAVE AND MANY OF YOU WRITE BEAUTIFULLY.. RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rav Aharon Lichtenstein
My Encounter with Rav Lichtenstein
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Twenties-041715-Hat

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

Teens-Twenties-logo

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

During the Second World War, a million and a half Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies, the Partisan units in Eastern Europe, and the anti-fascist underground movements in Western Europe and North Africa. These Jewish fighters won over 200,000 medals and citations. The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, […]

The 2-day real estate event will take place in Brooklyn on April 26 and 27.

She wasn’t paying attention to what the child did when the mother was not in the room. Rather, her main focus was on what the child did when the mother returned.

The Mets at least have hope for the future with some good young pitchers.

French thinkers of the Enlightenment were generally not pro-Semitic, to say the least.

My Jewish star was battered, indeed it was a wreck
But I picked it up anyway and put it around my neck
To know that hatred mangled it was surely very painful
But just the same to me it is still very beautiful.

A compulsion is a repetitive action. But what underlies the compulsion is an obsession or fear.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/a-time-to-hate-back/2013/06/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: