Why Moral Persons Should Hate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/religion-holidays/2019/10/why-moral-persons-should-hate-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi/

October 31, 2019 | Ari Lamm
About the author:

While the Torah contains a commandment to “love your neighbor,” it has no equivalent of Jesus’ call to “love your enemies.” This difference, writes Ari Lamm, creates a very different Jewish answer to the question of whether it is moral to celebrate the recent demise of the head of Islamic State. Citing a sermon given by his grandfather, Rabbi Norman Lamm, in 1973, he clarifies Jewish position:

First, there are some ideas, movements, or even people who are so profoundly, unusually evil that hatred is not only justified but required. All decent people should feel hatred for a Haman, or a Hitler, and no contextualizing or relativizing will exempt us from this basic requirement. There is nothing that we can learn about Stalin’s background, or Pol Pot’s childhood, that can earn them our love and forgiveness.

By the same token, Jewish tradition has also understood hatred’s wildly destructive potential. It has thus sought deliberately to circumscribe it as much as possible, reserving it only for those singularly evil individuals who unquestionably deserve it. As [the elder] Lamm concluded, “We must live our lives so that the commandment of hatred becomes the most difficult of all to observe. And by restricting our hatred to evil and those who personify it . . . we shall learn to act lovingly to all God’s creatures.”

So, may we hate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? . . . [N]ot only may we; we must. In [Lamm’s] words, “monsters who seek sadistically to wipe out whole populations—such people remain deserving, on purely moral grounds, of actual contempt and hatred.”

Read more on Tablet: https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/293295/yes-it-is-good-to-hate-al-baghdadi

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register Already a subscriber? Sign in now