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What is the Jewish view on hate?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht


Library » Mitzvot » Love thy Neighbor | Subscribe | What is RSS?


A. Firstly, hate is misunderstood. Hate is misconstrued. Hate is equated with things it is not. Hate has been branded the darkest evil, so much so that it has become the most feared subject: discussing it is the height of political incorrectness--and squeamishness. But if any and all hate is evil, how can you hate Nazism? How can you hate racism? How can you hate rape and murder? How can you hate hate?

B. Let's define hate: Hate is a normal human emotion, like love. As a matter of fact, they are opposites. Hate rejects, love accepts. Hate is separation, love is connection. If you absolutely cannot hate, then you absolutely cannot love, either. It's just a question of what you do with them: hate can make you a hero (Batman hates muggers), love can get you locked up (stalking pretty girls). So is hate bad? Is love good? No, no: it depends on whom or what you're hating or loving.

Having safely established that the PC Police will not come after you upon admitting that hate is alive and well, let's lay down what Judaism's view on hate is.

1. You're squeamishness about hate is valid: most hate is wrong--but that's because most hate today is expressed by violating the civil, property or religious rights of others. On the other hand, if your hate for something so morally appalling and antithetical to your beliefs causes you to avoid or even civilly protest it, that is good hate. It is absolute rejection of something you ought to be absolutely rejecting. So it's not the hate as much as it is the crime. Hate has been equated with crime, because it's most often expressed by a crime.

2. Even good hate needs to be extremely controlled and limited. One of the most fundamental Mitzvahs of the Torah is the imperative to love your fellow as yourself. Hatred towards other human beings without legitimate cause is antithetical to that ideal (to say the least). Hate is only ok as a true rejection of something wrong, and may not be the an expression of your own offended ego, or your jealousy of someone else's ego. Hate must also be a catalyst for constructive growth, and not a cause for paralyzing depression or destruction.


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Jewish Identity » Love thy Neighbor

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.