Shabbat Parashat Tetzaveh| 5765
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Sinai and Sinah (Hatred) - Part II - From Harabbanut V’hamedina pp. 385-7
[We saw last week that the gemara says that hatred of Jews came down to the world from Sinai, but we did not understand why, since the nations of the world consciously benefit from this great event. We had even more difficulty understanding why our own brethren who are not knowledgeable or do not follow the Torah often feel animosity toward those who do. We will now look for an explanation.]
The Yerushalmi (Orlah 1:3) states: “There is a sign: he who eats from that of his friend is embarrassed to look at him.” This sign is actually taken from the nature of the world of plants and has applications in regard of the laws of orlah. But it is also a human, psychological truth, which can help explain to us the mystery of the hatred of Jews that fell to the world at Sinai.
We asked why the nations hate us despite the fact that we have contributed so much to the world. But the answer assumes just the opposite from the question. They hate us because we have given so much to the world. The civilized world, to the extent that it has preserved morality and the Divine Image, nurtured these qualities from Bnei Yisrael and the Torah that Hashem gave to us. Because the world knows this (or, more exactly, feels this) it hates us. It is difficult to accept that our small nation possesses the greatest treasure in the world, the Torah, which they can only attempt to wrest away from us by force or by trickery. It is unpleasant for them to admit that we stood alone among the nations at Har Sinai and that Hashem spoke specifically to us. It is from the embarrassment of being forced to “eat from our table” that they came to hate us.
This same idea is the answer to the phenomenon we have to live with on a daily basis, the animosity of a large part of secular society. The animosity is not despite the fact that those who follow the Torah are the insurance for the eternity of the Jewish people but because of it. It is because they feel the weight of the debt they owe for the past and for the future. Secular society feels that even the State by itself is not the cement that keeps the nation glued together and protects it from destruction, because even the State is a merciful, Divine reward for the faith of our nation. No artificial value can last or can give the soul of the Jew the strength to persevere the way the connection to the Torah of the believing Jew can. There are those who hate those who represents Torah and mitzvot, who remind them that they are living on the merit of others and wasting the spiritual resources that our nation has accrued over time. In order to deal with these feelings of inadequacy, they put the blame on others and find fault in those who make them feel this way.
Someone once said: if you helped someone out, try to accept a little something from him, as well. If he gives you something, he may feel that he no longer owes anything, and in that way he won’t end up being your enemy. Who knows, maybe by accepting things from those who are hostile toward us we, in that way, will lessen their enmity.
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