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2010

Nixon’s Accusations of Jewish Insecurity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 7
Lone Soldier

 

The Paradoxes of Oil as a Guide for Living
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Rock Promoter and the Genesis of the Public Chanukah Menorah
Ruvi New

 

Why the Tea Party Resonates with Human Dignity
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 6
Lone Soldier

 

The Lone Soldier Week 5
Lone Soldier

 

Jewish Ingratitude to Christians
Shmuley Boteach

 

No Gelt, No Glory
Simcha Weinstein

 

The Lone Soldier Week 4
Lone Soldier

 

A Time to Hate
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 3
Lone Soldier

 

“My Heart Swells with Joy”
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Lone Soldier Week 2
Lone Soldier

 

How Obama Lost his Magic
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rise of the Religious Charlatans
Shmuley Boteach

 

Rupert Murdoch: The 'Soft War' Against Israel
Rupert Murdoch

 

Do We Still Possess the Power to Choose?
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Lone Soldier Week 1
Lone Soldier

 

A Spiritual Night in Hebron
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Religious-Industrial Complex
Shmuley Boteach

 

Ahmedenijad, Media Rock Star
Shmuley Boteach

 

As the Economy Crumbles, Obama Makes Middle East Peace.
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Pastors who Burn Bibles Become Celebrities
Shmuley Boteach

 

If an American President Were Muslim, Would we Care?
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Purpose in Debating Christopher Hitchens on the Afterlife
Shmuley Boteach

 

Suicide Bombers in Heaven? Imam Rauf Won’t Say No
Shmuley Boteach

 

Extravagant Weddings and Bar Mitzvahs Humiliate the Jewish Community
Shmuley Boteach

 

When Psycho Flight Attendants Become Heroes
Shmuley Boteach

 

Iran’s Descent Into Barbarity
Shmuley Boteach

 

Let the Families of 9/11 Decide the Fate of the Ground Zero Mosque
Shmuley Boteach

 

Time Magazine’s Bizarre Assault on Large Families
Shmuley Boteach

 

Tom Friedman’s Soft Spot for Terrorist Fadlallah
Shmuley Boteach

 

Kaddafi’s Ship to Gaza, and His Ark in New Jersey.
Shmuley Boteach

 

What We Lose When We Win
Shmuley Boteach

 

Al Gore’s Moral Confusion
Shmuley Boteach

 

Peace and Zealotry
Simon Jacobson

 

Theater review - 'The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer'
Yudi Lewis

 

What McChrystal’s Firing Says about American Values
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Rebbe and Viktor Frankl
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Michael Jackson’s Life Could have Been Saved
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Psychiatrist and The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

BP, Kaddafi, and Britain’s Oil Comeuppance
Shmuley Boteach

 

Helen Thomas and the Open Season on the Jews
Shmuley Boteach

 

Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe Con the World?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Fergie’s Fall
Simcha Weinstein

 

Sderot Report
Noam Bedein

 

Why All The Stress?
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama’s Jewish Charm Offensive
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Jewish Woman’s 10 Commandments
Mimi Hecht

 

Is a Giant Mosque at Ground Zero Justified?
Shmuley Boteach

 

South Park: Seriously Funny
Simcha Weinstein

 

Mother’s Day for the Childless
Mimi Hecht

 

Open Letter to J-Street after their Attack on Elie Wiesel
Shmuley Boteach

 

Life and Death
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Religion’s Summer of Discontent
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is Israel Being Stubborn?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When a Pope Needs Friends
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Five Cents
Mimi Hecht

 

Condemn His Report, But Welcome Goldstone
Shmuley Boteach

 

What The President Does Not Understand
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Lesson from Zaidy and Nona
Mimi Hecht

 

Does a Kosher Butcher’s Fraud Mandate a Life Sentence?
Shmuley Boteach

 

Don’t Kill the Love
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

A Fallible Pope, and Imperfect Church
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama and the Deafening Silence of American Jewry
Shmuley Boteach

 

Obama's Hospitality: A Question of Character
Shmuley Boteach

 

From Globalism to Parochialism
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Matzah Moms
Mimi Hecht

 

Obama's Bullying of Israel
Shmuley Boteach

 

A Fashionable Promise
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America Has No Chief Rabbi
Shmuley Boteach

 

The Malady of a Maid
Mimi Hecht

 

The Human Miracle
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When Court Jews Defend Moral Cowards
Shmuley Boteach

 

Is it Okay to be Fat?
Mimi Hecht

 

Why America is the Most Depressed Nation on Earth
Shmuley Boteach

 

My Blackberry Baby
Mimi Hecht

 

Never Again !
Shmully Hecht

 

Heads over Heels
Mimi Hecht

 

The Death of Conviction
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

How to Deal with Destructive Emotions
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

When You Are Not in the Mood of Your Spouse
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Discovering Your Depth
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Consciousness of Freedom
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Ten Ways to Destroy Your Life
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Enemy Within
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Are You a Hypocrite?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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A Time to Hate
By Shmuley Boteach
 
Dr. William Petit restored an ancient moral principle: that humanity must be repulsed by evil, uproot it from the earth, and never trivialize human suffering.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. William Petit, whose wife and two daughters were raped, strangled, and set on fire in Cheshire, Connecticut in 2007 and who, in comments made outside the courthouse after the conviction of murderer Steven Hayes last week, taught us a valuable lesson about the nature of evil, forgiveness, and the problem of suffering.

 

No, not what you would expect. He did not deliver an amoral, ethically ambiguous, slobbering speech about forgiving his wife and daughters' murderers and how all suffering teaches us some valuable lesson, cleansing us of mistaken priorities and enriching our lives with greater meaning. No, he applauded the death penalty against a man of despicable cruelty as appropriate justice and declared that the loss of his family had conveyed no profound teaching but had rather left him with a gaping wound that would never heal. Dr. Petit restored an ancient moral principle: that humanity must be repulsed by evil, uproot it from the earth, and never trivialize human suffering with asinine arguments as to its redemptive value. As he said, "It's helpful that justice has been served with an appropriate verdict. I don't think there's ever closure. I think whoever came up with that concept is an imbecile... And I think many of you know it who have lost a parent or a child or a friend, there's never closure. There's a hole... it's a hole with jagged edges and over time the edges may smooth out a little bit, but the hole in your heart and the hole in your soul is still there. So there's never closure."

 

The essential nature of Christian theology is that the death of Jesus brings atonement. Ever since then Christian martyrs and saints have argued for an ennobling quality to suffering, referencing Jesus teachings about loving your enemies and turning the other cheek to support a theology that would extend love even to those guilty of barbarism.

 

The Biblical truth, however, is precisely the opposite. Exhortations to hate all manner of evil abound in the Bible and God declares His detestation of those who visit cruelty on His children. Psalm 97 is emphatic: "You who love G-d must hate evil." Proverbs 8 declares, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." King David declares of the wicked, "I have hated them with a deep loathing." Amos 5 demands, "Hate the evil and love the good." And Isaiah 5 warns, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil." And concerning the wicked King David declares unequivocally, "I have hated them with a perfect hatred. They are become enemies to me. (psalm 139) Hatred is a valid emotion, the appropriate moral response, to the human encounter with inhuman cruelty.

 

When living in England as Rabbi at Oxford University, I participated in a BBC radio debate about the tragic bombing of a gay pub that left three dead. I called the bomber an abomination, to which Pastor Tony Campalo, at the time President Bill Clinton's spiritual advisor, replied that we had to love the bomber in the spirit of Christian forgiveness.  Similarly, in my years in Britain I became accustomed to hearing victims of IRA terrorist attacks, after having lost fathers or sons, immediately pardon the murderers in the spirit of Christian charity. But to love a murderer is to practice contempt for their victims. A member of the Taliban who cuts off a woman's nose and ears or an Al Qaida terrorist who flies a plane into a building has cast off the image of G-d from their countenance and is no longer our human brother. They deserve not amnesty but abhorrence, not clemency but contempt. And since humans cannot bestow life, neither can they act in the place of G-d and forgive the taking of life.

 

Jesus never meant to forgive G-d's enemies but your own. Your enemy is the guy who steals your parking space. G-d's enemies are those who assault women and torture children. Likewise, in advocating turning the other cheek Jesus never meant that if someone rapes your wife give him your daughter as well. He meant to forgive petty slights rather than monstrous evil.

 

I do not believe in revenge, and the ancient Jewish understanding of 'an eye for an eye' was always financial restitution for the lost productivity of an eye rather than the barbaric taking of a organ itself. But I do believe in justice and forgiving murder or loving a terrorist makes a mockery of human love and a shambles of human justice. The human capacity for love is limited enough without us making the reprehensible mistake of directing even a sliver of our heart away from the victims and toward their culprits.

 

Ecclesiastes expressed it best. There is not just a time to love but also a time to hate. When a woman and two daughters are horrifically assaulted and gratuitously murdered, that time has come.

 

 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach heads This World: The Values Network, an organization dedicated to promoting universal Jewish values to heal America. He has just published a book on Jewish spirituality for non-Jews called Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

Posted on November 15, 2010
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