Friday, February 26, 2010

When Hatred is Good

As a general rule, hatred is a terrible character trait. A person who hates someone else usually ends up doing more harm to themselves than to the object of their hatred. However, there is one notable exception: hating evil. On the Shabbat before Purim, we read Parshat Zachor, the Torah portion dealing with Amalek's sneak attack against the Jews during the Exodus from Egypt. We are commanded to remember their ambush, blot out their memory, and thus inspire hatred of them.

While hatred and destruction are usually the antithesis of Jewish values, a quick synopsis helps explain why it is imperative in this instance. Firstly, the Jews leaving Egypt posed no threat, since Amalekite land was not part of Israel. Secondly, they initiated their attack from behind, against the weakest, most vulnerable Jews. Thirdly, while Amalek feared people, they did not fear God - by virtue of not pursuing a frontal attack. Put all of this together and you have the epitome of evil. The civilized world will cease to exist if such people are tolerated.

From Amalek and Haman to Hitler and Ahmadinejad, we must do everything within our power to fight against their brutality, until there is God-given peace on earth. Although every terrorist may not be genealogically related to Amalek, their method of operation - sneak attacks targeting innocent civilians - represents the same spirit of evil. This is why we are commanded to remember such actions. Those who don't heed this historic implication are doomed to suffer from similar events.

Today's calls for Jewish annihilation should unite us as never before. While Jewish unity is difficult, it becomes easier when there is a common threat that does not discriminate between Right and Left, religious and secular. A comment on an earlier post brought up a great point: during the Six Day War in 1967, Jews worldwide worked together for the sake of Israel. This reminded me of the unity we had here in the United States for a short time following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, both in America and Israel, that kind of unity seems to be a distant memory. Will we have to wait for the next horrific event before we get our act together, or will we "remember what Amalek did to us" and work as one?

So as not to end on a sad note - after all, it's Adar and we're supposed to increase our happiness - I'll leave you with a great video. It's an advertisement by a beer company (quite apropos for Purim). It suggests one way to show our appreciation for American soldiers, members of the Israel Defense Forces, and anyone else fighting evil today:

God bless them all.

1 comment:

  1. May we all be together in the holy land immediately!

    Chag Purim Sameach!