The festival of Pesach has ended. We have substituted the bread of affliction for the bread from Angel bakery. We thank God for the difference in the taste.
Yet, inspite of everything we are still living in the world of slavery, oppression, wanton murders, destruction of cities, devastation of holy places. Could we ever learn to live in a world without hate? Is such a thing really possible?
Monasteries and churches of the Coptic religion in Egypt have frequently been targets of Muslim hatred against Christians. Massacres of Coptic Christians by Egyptian Muslims is common in Egypt.
In Sri Lanka, the former Ceylon, a Christian church was attacked by local Muslims and hundreds of worshippers were killed in the midst of sacred prayers to One God.
In France and in Holland synagogues and Jewish cemeteries have been defaced by anti-Jewish graffiti and tombstones have been over-turned and broken by hateful vandals.
In the United States of America, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was attacked during a Shabbat morning prayer service. Many killed. Many more wounded.
And on the final day of Pesach a Chabad synagogue in California was attacked. One woman killed and four others wounded.
In Israel, many Ethiopian Jews who had prayed for two thousand years to return to the Jewish homeland, Eretz Yisrael, have returned to a different land…Medinat Yisrael, a place where there is no shortage nor lack of hatred for the “other”.
In Israel, it has been the separation in the school system. Prior to independence and for years following, parents could send their children to schools affiliated with Mapai, Mapam, General Zionists, and yeshivot. Schools in the trends of their religious and political beliefs.
Jews and Arabs living side by side in the same mixed cities like Haifa, Jaffa and Acre did not go to the same schools. Arabs went to all-Arabic schools and Jews went to the Jewish schools of parental choice.
Children in these schools seldom met, never played together, never visited in one another’s home, never learned the other’s language or culture. From this separation of fear of the unknown, the seeds of hatred were deeply planted in our common soil and to this day their roots, buried deep in our earth, continue to grow. Leaves of hatred are visible where beautiful flowers once bloomed.
Our recent election was a bitter example of the hate that exists between our many political parties and more especially between religious and non-religious Jews.
In the latter case, it is the rabbinical authorities and the teachers in the yeshivot who create and who spread wanton dislike and hatred against Jews who do not accept their religious observances or beliefs.
There is no separation, most tragically, of religion and State in Israel. Non-observant Jews are enslaved by religious laws which they do not want to observe. There is no freedom of choice. And our government is very greatly dependent upon the support and the votes of the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Without the support of the ultra-Orthodox in the coalition, the Israeli government would collapse !
There is hatred in Israel. Jew against Jew. Jew against Arab. Arab against Jew. Religious against non-religious.
Forgetting the rest of the world’s hatreds, we need to concentrate on hatreds within Israel. We are living in an “olam shel sinah; olam bli ahava”… a world of hate… a world bereft of love and tolerance
Sadly, it is nothing new on the map of history. There has been hatred in God’s world since the days of creation. Cain vs. brother Abel for jealousy. Esau vs. brother Jacob for rivalry. The kingdom of Israel vs. the kingdom of Judah for supremacy. It has never ended.
A world without hate…. Is such a thing really possible?
With goodwill and with trust, we can make a very great change here in Israel. We can cease being an “olam shel sinah”, a world of hate, and we can become “medina shel ahava”… a State of Love.
When the prophet Elijah recovers from his great hang-over from all the Pesach wine he consumed, perhaps he can tell us the answer.
But only prior to the arrival of the messiah!