Hatred kills More People than Cancer
By Edward Sheirtz
We are familiar with advertisements about cancer, AIDS, and reckless driving being killers. However, what we do not consider is that there is a worse killer that is spreading at remarkable rates infecting multitudes and causing more pain and sorrow than all other causes put together. This is the plague of hatred.
Hatred is a killer; millions of Jews together with many from other different groups, were murdered during World War II. Today, through out the Arab world, hatred of Jews has reached an unprecedented level and we know that this can kill and if not restrained, it will kill!
Let us ask ourselves the very basic question: What is it that causes people from one area or religion or group to hate people that they have never spoken to, never met, and with whom do not have any interaction?
There is an explanation: Know that there are two basic types of hatred: hatred based on personal grievance and hatred that is based on selfishness.
Hatred that is based on personal grievance is a hatred that is caused directly by an injustice that is done to you by another person. It could be a neighbor or a co-worker who has annoyed you, embarrassed you or harmed your property. You feel that you have been wronged and now you are upset. However if restitution in the proper form is made, the hatred will dissipate. Hatred like this is based on a real cause; erase the cause and the hatred disappears.
The selfish type of hatred appears to come with a 'reason', but the reason which is supplied is not the real reason but rather a justification of the hatred. In this case, the hatred precedes the reason; the reason comes afterwards to justify to others and conceal the real motives of the hatred. This type of hatred is much more difficult to identify, since its source is cleverly concealed with a plausible external rational that justifies the hatred, and even beckons those listening to agree and join in the hatred. Hatred without cause is called in Hebrew sinat chinam.
The world is full of this sick type of hatred. Individuals, nations, groups and races are infected with it and it spreads itself like a contagious disease. At the bottom of this hatred is selfishness and suspicion that causes the 'other' to be viewed with disdain and suspicion.
A selfish person is constantly worried about himself, but no one else. He views the other as competition that will reduce down his share of what he desires. This type of person is a coward and uses justification and counterfeit reasons to explain and substantiate his hatred. As an example, a person cannot clearly state that he fears that his co-worker may do a better job than he, and by comparison, will look bad, because it is an admission of his own weakness. Rather he will give a reason to justify hating this person, specifying a personal fault in order that the reason should look authentic.
The same is true of groups. A group can not simply state that they fear another group because of the possibility that the other group will do better than them, rather they conceal their insecurity in a mantle of righteous justifications in order to convince others of the faults of this rival group. Others who secretly share the same insecurities will latch on to this false accusation and continue to spread this hatred.
If a grievance is real, then the parties can work it out honestly and sensibly, since the problem is not the personalities, but the disputed item, i.e. property, honor, etc. In most cases, it is the retribution that is the desired end, not the continuance of hatred. Once restitution has taken place, then the person who was wronged is pacified and the hatred subsides. This is not true with baseless hatred, since any claim made is only to conceal the insecurity and to justify the hatred therefore a settlement will not take away the baseless hatred since the underlying insecurity remains.
Unfortunately, we Jews are living in a time similar to that of our parents. During the 1930's and 40's, Hitler's hate campaign against the Jews and other 'undesirables' convinced millions of Germans of the righteousness of his mission. Chamberlain thought that he could appease Hitler by giving him the Sudetenland. Hitler could not be appeased since his demands were not based on reason, but he used his 'reason' only to justify his hatred.
We see the same thing in the Arab world. How much have the Israeli governments given to the Palestinian Arabs, yet Israel is as far from peace with their neighbors as they were in 1948. The reason is that the Arabs use a 'reason' to justify their claims against the Jews, when in reality no appeasement on the part of any Israeli leader will make them stop hating us. They hate us because they view us with fright, they fear that our energies in building a beautiful society in the Middle East will expose them as the corrupt and lazy politicians that they really are, and that our Jewish success is a affront to the 'truth' of Islam and that by comparison they may feel that they are really lazy indolent people. It is much easier to spread the lie of Israeli atrocities then face the truth that they are responsible for their own destinies and it is not Israel or the Jews that caused them to be in the position in which they find themselves.
What is true with the group is true with the individual. The Torah commands us (Leviticus 19:17, 18) "Thou shall not hate thy brother in thy heart; you shall surely rebuke the neighbor, but not bring sin upon him. You shall not take vengeance nor bear a grudge, but you shall love thy neighbor as thyself."
Hatred blinds, and hatred kills. Love draws you closer together, but it requires courage to accept your own failings. Perhaps we cannot correct the world just today, but we can start by avoiding hatred and seeking truth in ourselves. If every one would look into himself and see and accept his own faults and not blame others for his position in life, the world would be a better place.
from the July 2007 Edition of the Jewish Magazine