Shabat Shuva – Repent From Your Hatred
Rabbi Akivah says ‘Love your peer as yourself’ is a great rule in the Torah. (Sifra Kedoshim on the Pasuk)
Any love which is dependent on something will end when that thing no longer exists. Any love which does not rely on anything will last forever. (Avot 5,16)
It is a great Mitzvah to love all Jews. This love should be unconditional. As we see, unconditional love will last forever. Only through unconditional love of all Jews can we truly be strengthened and invincible. Hatred of Jews is a terrible sin.
Em Habanim Smecha – The Joy of a Mother of Children was written by Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teychthel of Blessed Memory – May his blood be avenged. He wrote it in Budapest while waiting for the Nazi’s to slaughter the Jews. Rabbi Teychthel was among the rabbis who vehemently spoke against the Zionist movement. Before the Nazi’s had a chance to slaughter him he repented from this sin and wrote Em Habanim Smecha.
He recognized that speaking against those who settle in Israel was a sin. He realized that speaking against any Jews, no matter how distant from the Torah, was a sin. He was willing to work with Zionists. Many of these Zionists had abandoned the Torah. Only building the land of Israel was important to them. Today, it is not difficult to be convinced of the importance of living in Israel.
The fourth and final chapter of this book discusses the importance of peace and unity. In paragraph seven he says that when the Jews of Persia were to suffer the “Final Solution” from Achashverosh and Haman they were spared because ALL Jews got together to fast and pray.
Queen Esther said to Mordechai “Go gather ALL of the Jews and fast for me.” This “ALL” includes every kind of Jew from the far right to the extreme left. Rabbi Teychthel says that this certainly included many assimilationists.
Years before deciding to kill the Jews Achashverosh had thrown a coronation feast for all of his citizens. According to the Midrash eighteen thousand Jews partook in this feast which featured non kosher food and wine from vessels stolen from the Bet Hamikdash. Even these assimilated Jews participated in the fasts and prayers beseeching G-d to cancel the terrible decree.
We need to accept all Jews no matter how they have distanced themselves from the Torah. Although it is a Mitzvah to bring people close to the Torah we must love them even though they have not come close. Through this unconditional love they may, and often do, come closer to the Torah and follow more Mitzvot.
The Haftarah for Shabat Shuva and for the afternoon reading of Tisha Be’av (read by Sepharadim) states:
Return, Israel because you have stumbled in your sin. (Hoshea 14,2)
Hoshea states here that the Jews have fallen into sin. They did not intentionally sin.
It is very easy to stumble into the sin of hatred. Hatred comes from many elitist and self centered thoughts. Many books have been written on the Psychology of hatred. Hatred is probably easier than Love. It is paramount that we make Teshuvah for the sin of Hatred. I too often fall into this sin.
Lecturing students and encouraging them to grow as Torah Jews can be dangerous. Rabbis need to be very careful not to incite their students to hate other Jews.
Torah students will often unquestionably accept what their rabbi says. This is usually very good. However, This places an extra yoke around the neck of rabbis.
In trying to build internal unity a rabbi can easily encourage hatred of other Jews.
I feel that I must cite examples of hatred. The Evil Inclination is sneaky and can cause us to easily fall into this sin. Unfortunately, many leaders also fall into this sin. I hope that I am not inciting hatred of rabbis by quoting these.
- “Their activities are like those of Zimri” (therefore it is a Kiddush Hashem to kill them in public)
- “The Charedim are leaches.”
- “Those who wear a knitted kippah do not really follow Torah.”
- “They (it does not matter who “they” are) act and dress like prostitutes.”
- “Their religion is lip service and their teachers have sex with a Niddah”
- “Jewish soldiers die because they want to draft Yeshiva students.”
There is no end to such dribble, yet I have heard every statement from Great, Wise men that I highly respect.
Avtalyon says, Wise men! Be careful with your words lest you become liable and punished with banishment. You may be banished to a place with evil waters and the students who follow you will drink them and die, then the name of heaven will have been desecrated. (Avot 1,11)
Each and every statement I quoted above encouraged public outcry and hatred towards other groups of Jews. Even if a statement is true it might be better not to say it. Em Habanim Smecha (Same paragraph as above) cites the Maharal that G-d’s name is Peace (Shalom) and his stamp is truth. What does one like more, His name or his stamp? Obviously one’s name is favored. Therefore, G-d favors peace.