I am flatly tired of self-hatred in the Jewish community. It eats away at us from within and is the very same reason that our Sages tell us that the Second Temple was destroyed.
In the face of the attack on a Palestinian family in the West Bank, Jews everywhere are acting as though they are personally responsible and must suffer blame and repercussions. Not true! It buys into the lies that the world wants to feed us, like the lies peddled when the US “urges both sides” remain under control. Are we a herd of uncontrollable wild animals? The stabbing at the Gay Pride parade has Jews around the world taking personal responsibility for the depravity in the world as represented by people being attacked. This should not be done!
It seems as though we are pathologically afraid of accepting ourselves. The modern Jewish divisiveness is long documented. It eats away at ourselves as a people. Basically, modern Judaism has institutionalized and accepted self-hatred. Apologizing and putting oneself down, apologizing for Israel, apologizing for Judaism, really it all has to stop!
Faigy Mayer committed suicide in the face of nonacceptance from her community. The nonacceptance is some sort of pathological self-view in response to hatred from the world. She, and all who come in contact with Judaism, are by and large told something like, “Well, we are holing ourselves in since we are not accepted,” and then that holing in spirals out of control and the Jews struggle to survive. Uriel da Costa, in 1640, committed suicide in the face of utter and complete rejection by the Jewish community of Amsterdam. How many have been lost because of the peculiar Jewish pathology of self-hatred? The blood libel was invented by a Jew- a Jew in England, the England which expelled Jews and gladly accepted the Jew’s, Thomas of Monmouth’s, proposition.
We internalize and then externalize the anti-Semitism. As my Rabbi taught from the Torah’s story of the spies, it is impossible for others to see you any different way from the way that you see yourself. If you see yourself as a grasshopper, then you are presented to other people as a grasshopper. There is a solid back-and-forth between the way that you see yourself and the way that the world sees you. We are “little grasshoppers” and operate, so wrapped up in ourselves, that we act as though our very existence is dependent on not getting squashed by that foreboding giant.
Do we not believe in G-d anymore? Okay, so many will argue about the nature of G-d. But, all of a sudden has whatever you want to call what has sustained us for thousands of years disappeared? We are still here!
Defeatism has no place in Jewish life. I see the massive roadblocks to conversion and the argument among “denominations” as more examples of pathologically internalized self-hatred. Actually, my contention here has historical basis, since that is precisely the reason that conversion is so hard and “Who’s a Jew” is such a question. The Ancients hated us, and made it illegal for Jews to convert others to the faith. So, the Rabbis made it insanely hard for anyone to convert.
Let me give another example of what I am talking about. A couple of years ago, I went with my family to the local Holocaust Memorial Center for a Kristallnacht Commemoration ceremony. The ceremony consisted of a play, and in the play it was suggested that Kritsallnacht happened because of the shooting of a Nazi official by a Young Jewish man.
What is wrong with such a view? Like I wrote in an earlier article for the Times, the fault of persecution does not lie with the persecuted. To take responsibility for evil buys into the lies of the evil itself. The premise of the play that I mentioned is wrong. Kristallnacht, a night of terror throughout Europe for Jews, had absolutely nothing to do with the Jews. The reason that it happened is because the Nazi Party was evil. We, each one of us individually, are a strong and legitimate people irregardless of any actions of anyone.
In the face of terrorism, be strong. We are strong. Stop basing our self-perceptions and actions on a sick loop that goes something like this: “Well, they say I’m no good, so I must be no good, but I don’t like that idea, so I will make myself do things that they like so that they will think better of me,” etc., etc., etc. Negative self-perceptions are extended to other members of the community, including potential members like converts.
It has to stop. Stop the self-bashing. We don’t have to legitimize our existence.