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The Elements of Jewish Living

Hatred

By TorahLab

Admit it: hate feels good.
Oh, I don't mean the common, garden-variety hatred that abounds in this world of ours.  I'm not talking about people whose hatred grows from jealousy, or about people who build mountains of hate out of molehills of slights.  It's hard to imagine that any sane person lives comfortably with such hatreds.
But hatred isn't always so petty.
The pages of history are filled with the stories of men who treated those who fell into their clutches with a cruelty incompatible with anyone's definition of humanity. Why shouldn't we hate such people?  Do such people have any claim on our love or compassion?  Doesn't the instinctive sense of justice inborn in all of us demand that we hate them - and that we hate them with a passion which we spare for little else?
We are very comfortable with such hatreds: they aren't petty and they aren't personal.  We don't see such hate as a mere thirst for revenge.  In fact we question the integrity of those who don't hate as deeply as we hate - since in hating we battle the evil empires that threaten the world.  Our hatred is born of righteous indignation.  It feels right and good.
But that doesn't prove that it is right or good.
Can we trust ourselves to judge objectively while our souls scream in pain? Is our hate pure and honest or is our hate self-righteous?  Is our hate intellectual or is it visceral?
*(Have we the right to hate the children of our enemies; and if yes, why is the our list of hatreds so short?  How many countries have not been guilty of atrocities against the Jewish people?)
Why don't we hate those who have been cruel to others with the same passion that we reserve for those who have hurt our people?  Why don't we hate the enemies of our own fathers quite as deeply as we hate our own enemies? Why has even the hatred of Nazi Germany dimmed as the generation that lived through those times passes on? 
Maybe our hate isn't honest enough and therefore we shouldn't hate at all.  Maybe true objective justice doesn't allow for hate.  Or maybe the fault is in us: maybe we don't care deeply enough about justice. 

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