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Why Do They Hate Us

Thursday, 3 July, 2014 - 8:28 am

By Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman (with edits)

After hearing the recent news about the 3 teens being murdered in israel, the age old question brews again; "why do they hate us"? In this week's Parsha we read of the desire and efforts of Balak king of Moab and Bilaam the Prophet to curse the Jews. We also read of G-d's intervention that prevents them from succeeding in their endeavor.

In this story we are given a hint to the answer to this question.  

In G-d's first communication with Bilaam, who is on his way to curse the Jewish nation, G-d says "don't go with them (officers of Balak), don't curse the people because they are blessed".

It is clear from ancient times until present that the hatred directed towards us is not rational.  We were hated when we had everything, we were hated when we had nothing.  We were hated when we were on our land as we were hated when we were dispersed.  We were hated when we acted religiously and we were hated when we tried to assimilate.  Today too, modern day anti-Semitism, ie hatred of Israel, is evident in the disproportionate judgment of Israel for alleged crimes (which are not true).  Many other countries, perpetrating these same ‘crimes’, are not held accountable or criticized for them while Israel is. This is evidence of the irrationality of anti-Semitism.

The hatred towards us comes from the fact that we are blessed people.  We represent a mirror to those around us for what G-d expects of them and the world.  The Torah that was given to the Jewish people, and the essential relationship we have with Hashem, makes others around us uncomfortable.  This is true when we are living that blessing. However, even when not, we still represent the royal family for which that blessing is doled out.

One of the ways to break the hatred is to embrace the blessing that is ours.  To be proud of our blessing and to live that blessing.  If we can do that then we can have some effect on our surroundings; that they too should live a little more blessed and in turn uncover their own relationship with G-d.  

If we live that way, then just as as the story ends with Bilaam blessing the Jewish people with immense and powerful blessings, we too will receive blessings from those who presently wish the opposite.

With blessings. 

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

Comments on: Why Do They Hate Us

michael blum wrote...

Excellent article/thought. I have wrestled with the question "Why do they hate us?" for my whole life. However, albeit it is nice to think that the reason is because we are blessed and that makes others uncomfortable, I have run into a lot of hatred that can only be explained by the fact that some people, especially if they are downtrodden or feel themselves disrespected, unloved, persecuted, make themselves feel better by turning around and "hating" someone else, someone with no power, someone who can be made into a convenient victim. This is, imho, an evil side effect of the human need to see things in a linear, heirarchical structure -- "if I am at point X, then someone must be both below me and above me." You might call it a pecking order.