Prescription for Man’s Happiness

Howard Salamon


“Oh lovers of Hashem despise evil: He guards the lives of his devout ones, from the hand of the wicked He rescues them” (Tehillim 97:10)


I try to listen to Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio show host who has mentioned the first part of this verse many times. He was showing that our society was decaying rapidly as it is a secular one with little or no belief in God or religion. This is what the verse says, that a person who loves God must hate evil and one that loves evil must hate God. There is no other option as this divine statement confirms. Let’s see if we can define this statement. Parenthetically, we say these words in our Friday night prayers.

If one loves God he must hate evil and one that loves evil must hate God. First we must define what love and hate are in regard to God. When one loves God, we cannot mean an emotional love as one loves a spouse, friend or parent. These are emotions that we have for another human being that cannot relate to God, as God is not a physical being. When we say “love” in relation to God we mean drawn toward Him via learning his Torah or creations. This is the only knowledge one can have of God. Man is amazed and drawn to the source of all reality in the world. When we say one who loves God must hate evil, it means that he yearns to learn more about God through Torah and nature. He recognizes a supreme being that gave us the Torah as a set of morality to live by and have the happiest life possible, Who created the Universe from nothing and that man is just a created, dependent being. He must hate evil as the Torah prescribes what the good is, what evil is, and he only wants to live by this formula as he recognizes this is reality. Anything that goes against God’s word he must look at as evil. Hating God would be the opposite…moving away from Him, despising him as not recognizing Him in any way. 

The sinful man knows that he’s going against God’s Torah prescription of how to live a righteous and happy existence. He cannot follow this formula as he doesn’t want to answer to anyone but himself. He feels the whole world was made for him to do as he pleases. His idea of what the good is, is totally corrupt. His morality compass is skewed. He cannot hate himself for going against God’s reality, as we all believe that we are always doing what’s right in our own eyes. Therefore he must project this hate onto God. Hence, he loves evil and hates God.