Hatred within Judaism

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Hatred within Judaism


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Opinion & Society

Why is there Hatred Between Jews?

By Doug Winkler

Many generations have passed since we were exiled from our land. Many trials and tribulations have tested us and scorched our national soul. All of this, we are told, is/was because of internal hatred amongst the Jewish people. Many have been the unpleasant repercussions of hatred. The animosity and ill will borne between various factions amongst us. And for what purpose does it serve? To divide one Jew from another? Is that a purpose?

In this article we shall try to discover what is the inner motivation of those who prefer to stir up discontent and animosities, and what is the benefit that they reap from it.

Hatred can be categorized into two broad categories: the first is simple hatred, and the second is covert hatred. The first type of hatred is called "simple" since it is based on a simple cause and effect occurrence. Example: Your neighbor constantly dances on the ceiling each night and refuses to acquiesce to your requests that he stop and let you have quiet after 10:00 at night. This type of hatred is simple, the cause of it is clear, your neighbor does not honor your requests that he behave in an acceptable manner and in consequence causes you pain. Your hatred of your neighbor, while not desired, is understandable.

However, if your neighbor will stop his outrageous behavior, behave properly and treat your requests with the dignity that is required, then the hatred will dissipate. That is simple hatred, there is an identified cause which causes the hatred. Remove the cause and the hatred subsides.

The second form of hatred is not so simple. It is called covert or covered hatred. This is a hatred which is based on something other than the doings of the other party. It is based on the concealed needs of the person himself. Example: A company has an engineer who handles technical problems. He is well regarded by the rest of the non-technical employees and the management of the company. However the company feels that it needs another technical support man and therefore hires another engineer. The first engineer now finds fault with this new engineer. He complains that the second engineer's abilities are weak, his education is insufficient, his manners lacking, etc. all causing the first engineer to waste time teaching him things that any decent engineer should have already known. It could be that it is true, it could be fabricated.

What we have here is a hatred that is not simple. The first engineer fears that he may lose some prestige from his fellow employees. Perhaps the management will not consider his opinion so highly. Perhaps, even, the second engineer will be raised above him or even take his job. Many are the deep concealed motivations of the first engineer. But what they all have in common is that the second engineer has not really done anything to the first engineer, rather his presence itself is threatening to the first engineer.

Now what complicates the affair is that the first man will not come out and say that the second man intimidates him and due to his own insecurities he is resentful. What happens here is that the first man will conceal this personality defect and instead of addressing his own inner conflict, he will cast doubts or criticism in order to discredit his perceived opponent.

From the surface the two types of hatred are similar. In both cases the "victim" complains that the other person is not acting in accordance with the proper conventions of behavior. He has a rational reason for his hatred. From our view point we can not tell the difference. However there are several differences.

In the case of simple hatred the cause precedes the hatred. In the case of convert hatred, the hatred gives birth to the fabrication of a justification (cause). Secondly, in the first case, remove the cause and the hatred will subside. In the second case, if the case is removed, the hatred will continue and seek another form of justification.


It should be understood that differences exist in each person. No person is identical to his friend, neither in looks, in thought, nor in desires. In addition, no person has the same needs as the other and therefore, what may be great for me, may not be worthy for you. However, realization of this point enables one to foster respect for the other's unique life style. Different people have different needs and in relationship to their distinct personalities, so will their view points on any two different ideas differ.

Realization of the various needs of the individual foster mutual respect. However, when a person has self serving needs, as in the case of politics or other organized groups who are seeking to realize specific goals, their supposed justifications and rationalizations of the other groups lacking should be investigated with due concern for self serving motives.

Many groups in Judaism spout love of fellow Jews. However, their love is contingent on belonging to or espousing the values of their group. Are we so insecure that we need friendships that mimic our own personal values? Can we not realize that the continuation of hatred between Jews is a serious act which only benefits the enemies of Jews everywhere? Is it not our obligation as intelligent and idealistic Jews to open our mouth and identify the hypocrisy that is the most detrimental factor amongst us? Or as a famous gentile once said. "Let us all hang together, or we shall all hang separately."

Truly, this is our task in this generation, to eliminate the need for groups that promote hatred and diversion. This can only be done through our actively identifying the divisive forces amongst us.


from theJanuary1999Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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