Love Your Enemy?
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: Dear Rabbi, I have written you a few times and highly respect your knowledge so I have another question for you. I am a former Catholic Christian woman who has been shown the truth of Judaism through an Orthodox Jewish man. It is my hope that perhaps someday it would be possible to convert to Judaism. In light of the terrorist attack upon the USA this brings me to my question for you. I know from being a former Christian that a standard response to this evilness is to "love your enemy". Yet I have read at several Jewish websites that the Torah does not teach to love your enemy. I trust in your knowledge of Torah teachings, Rabbi so could you please tell me what the Torah teaches about our enemies? Love them, hate them, destroy them? I wish to follow the Torah teachings about this. Thank you for all of your responses to my past emails, Rabbi. Even though I am not Jewish I believe that I must learn from the Jews because they are a Holy nation of Priests and have wisdom, and that it is Gd's will.
Mesora: Elizabeth, you must first understand that there are absolutes in this world. God gave the Torah to man as a system of absolute truths. Since the Torah writes that one must not murder, it is then clearly against God's will to murder. And the punishment for murder is death. How then can someone in their right mind say we should love the very person who God says we must kill? The Torah definitely does not encourage love of an enemy any more than love for your friend.
Herein lies the corruption of Christianity.
Christianity desires to deny the instinctual makeup of man-which God desired we have. Thus, saints and angels dominate this theology. Instincts must play a vital role in our lives if God willed we have them. Judaism teaches mankind to recognize these drives, study them, and control their outlet. - but in no way does God prevent man from acting in accordance with our nature. If Arafat kills 100 parents, or bin Laden kills 1000 parents, it is directly in line with our natures as children to hate these vicious animals. It is not wrong to feel hatred towards them, but our expression of this hatred must be expressed as the Torah directs. The feelings are not an area of legislation, but our actions must - on the whole - be tempered.
There are however emotional states in man - as when his beloved relative is killed accidentally - where the "Go-ale Hadam" may kill the accidental murderer without suffering penalty. This teaches us that the Torah recognizes the unyielding out lash of emotions at specific times. In such a case, man cannot control his feelings, and therefore the Torah suspends all punishment for this vengeful act. The Torah will not ask man to do what he cannot. The Torah functions in line with man's nature, as opposed to Christianity which denies it. The Torah is based on a life of wisdom, and the first step is understanding an unbiased view of reality, even if this reality tell us that man has evil inclinations. We do not shudder from such a reality, as this is God's will. What we do is endeavor to study man objectively, and seek direction from the Designer of man's psyche so we may learn how to lead a life which is in line with our design, and which leads us to happiness.
Another example of the Torah's answer to treatment of enemies is the command to blot out Amalek. Amalek is the Torah's label for any nation which embodies hatred of God through hating His selected people, Israel. Such would be as Arafat and bin Laden. Here, we are commanded to destroy such people. We must detest such murderers so we recognize and show others what evil is. Christianity completely denies this command in the Bible. They are simply in contradiction.
What happens when Christianity denies human instincts? Many times I have read of priests sodomizing young children. This is the unfortunate result of repressing emotions which require outlet. Sexuality is natural and desired by God. Priests and nuns go against God by abstention. Furthermore, they are in a direct contradiction: They feel they are living the loftiest life in their priestly pursuits, thereby endorsing their existence. Therefore, not partaking in procreation denies others the very good they wish for themselves. Their contradiction is in the belief that such a life is a good, but if it is, they should create children who can also partake in it.
Christianity is bent on denial of truths. "Giving the other cheek" endorsed by Christianity invites terrorism. It encourages those bent on human destruction that they suffer no retribution. Judaism - the only true religion received by God publicly - endorses the life of wisdom, embraces truth regardless of mans dignity, and teaches man to understand the purpose of all that which God created to use it for the good. When however mankind uses his freewill and instincts for evil, there are times when he must be killed, and when man must abhor such personalities.

Philosophy | Tnach | New Postings | JewishTimes | Audio Archives | Suggested Reading | Live Classes | Search | Letters | Q&A's | Community Action | Volunteer | Links | Education | Chat | Banners | Classifieds | Advertise | Donate | Donors | About Us | Press | Contacts | Home


Mesora website designed by
© 2003 Mesora of New York, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Articles may be reprinted without permission.