05 January 2012

Hate has been given a bad name

10 Tevet 5772

And undeservedly so. Hate is a tool. When used appropriately, it can liberate and enlighten the world. When used indiscriminately and selfishly, it brings mayhem.

Grown men accosting a little girl would fall into the latter category, just like media pundits who degrade and demean an entire population for the sins of a few.

Hashem says: "...Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated." (Malachi 1) Hate is an attribute of the Holy One just like love, mercy, kindness and justice.

Love and hate, like kindness and strength; mercy and justice, are a balance. Life cannot be sustained in an imbalanced world. Just like strength untempered by kindness creates an imbalance with great potential for cruelty, so does complete love without its opposite - hate. And our sages warned us about unreserved mercy - that whoever is merciful to the cruel will become cruel to the merciful.

Western thinking sees all as black or white, good or evil. It comes from their misunderstanding of the Creator's nature. But, Jews understand that G-d is One and all exists within His Oneness. It's not that love is "good" and hate is "bad." Hate has it's place and can be a source of very great good when wielded appropriately, just as "free" love and undeserved mercy can become a source of great evil if applied inappropriately.

Rather than remove it from our spiritual arsenal, it is the responsibility of the Torah teachers to instruct us on its appropriate application.

Think upon this. If there is too much pepper on the meat, the solution is not to add an equal amount of salt to offset it. That just makes it too spicy and too salty to eat. This meat no longer serves its purpose. No one can eat it. The prudent and reasonable thing to do is to remove the excess pepper.