Dovid Vigler

Building a World Without anti-Semitism

How Jews believe in Gentiles

We all know that anti-Semitism is an enormous problem. Even more painful than the animus of our enemies is the silence of our friends. But why do they hate us?

It seems to be the great paradox of humanity:

They hated us when we were poor, and they hate us when we’re rich. They hated us when we had no land of our own, and now they hate us when we live on our own land. They attacked us when we have settlements, and they attacked us before the first settlement was ever built. They hated us when we assimilated into their culture, and they hate us when we live Jewish lives. They hated us when we had no way of defending ourselves and, now they hate us when we do. We simply can’t win!

In a stunning declaration, the Talmud (Tractate Shabbos 89a) answers this enigma in one fell swoop. It identifies the cause of anti-Semitism as the event we celebrate next week—the Giving of the Torah to the Jewish People on Mount Sinai, 3337 years ago. The Talmud explains that the reason the mountain was named “Sinai” is that Sinai is a homophone; Sinai in Hebrew sounds the same as sinah—the Hebrew word for “hatred.”

“Why was the Torah given on a mountain called Sinai?” asks the Talmud. “Because the great sinah – the tremendous hatred aimed at the Jew – emanates from Sinai.”

Identifying the illness is halfway to finding the cure. Once we’re able to understand the source of anti-Semitism, we can start to formulate a plan to overcome it.  Simply put—they hate us because G-d chose us. Now that the Jews have a higher calling, it causes the rest of the nations to feel inadequate. And they’ll often go to great lengths to punish us for it.

In a sermon delivered on Purim 1965—the festival in which we celebrate victory over the genocidal intent of the Iranians—the Rebbe explained that anti-Semitism is born out of a feeling of inadequacy. When they see the Jews as the Chosen People, a hollow forms in the hearts of the haters, bringing them to varying degrees of animosity towards the cause of this insecurity. Thus the  Talmud (Megillah 14a) defines the hatred of Haman as a “ditch in a field”—a profound sense of inadequacy.

Having clarified the root of the problem, the Rebbe proceeded to map out its cure:

As a small child, Zalman Aharon, the older brother of the future Fifth Rebbe of Chabad, Sholom DovBer, often complained that he was noticeably shorter than his younger brother. One day, the Zalman Aharon sneaked up behind his brother and pushed him lightly into a small ditch. As the younger brother stood up in surprise, the older brother seized the moment and pointed out that now he was taller.

 The Rebbe Maharash, the father of the two boys, observed the entire episode. He asked for a chair, ordered his older son to stand on it, and asked him, “Tell me, who’s taller now?”

 The boy answered excitedly that yet again he was taller.

“Aha!” said the father. “There you are! To be bigger than your friend, there is no need to pull him down. Simply elevate yourself!”

Along the same lines, the Rebbe explained that instead of trying to take the Jews down, the Gentiles should strive to lift themselves up. This is achieved by realizing that the Jews don’t have a monopoly on G-d. Every human being was created in the image of G-d, and we are all G-d’s children.

At the root of jealousy is fear and insecurity. People who aren’t happy about others, typically aren’t happy about themselves either.  You are jealous only because you are unaware that everything you need is already inside you. To live without comparison is to remove a tremendous burden.

A group of Chabad rabbis from across Canada arranged to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

They purchased a beautiful silver Kiddush cup to present to the prime minister as a gift. They planned on explaining to him that every human being, especially a government leader, can figuratively “make Kiddush”—to sanctify his or her surroundings. The gift of a Kiddush cup would symbolically remind the prime minister of this noble thought and intention.

The day before the meeting, they wrote to the Rebbe telling him of their planned appointment with the prime minister and the gift they had prepared.

The Rebbe’s response proved enlightening.

“Of what practical use is a Kiddush cup to the prime minister? [As he was not obligated by Jewish Law to recite the Kiddush.] I would suggest, instead, that you present him with an English prayer book, as it includes prayers such as Modeh Ani—a prayer recited each morning thanking G‑d for giving us life—which are relevant and meaningful to all humans, Jews and non-Jews alike.”

The United States is extraordinary in that it was the only country of it’s time founded without any anti-Semitic undertones. Here the Jews have always been safe. How is this country different from all other countries?

I firmly believe that it’s the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who imbued within every citizen of this great nation an inherent sense of value and worth in The Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Being the Chosen People is far more a responsibility than it is a privilege. Instead of strutting around like peacocks, we are called upon to shine a light unto the Nations—by inspiring them to embrace their own organic connection with G-d Almighty. It is our obligation to empower all our fellow human beings with the awareness of their unique Divine mission in this world—to make this world a beautiful, prosperous, and peaceful place.

The reason Jews discourage Gentiles from converting to Judaism is that we sincerely believe that you don’t need to be Jewish in order to have a deep, personal, and wholesome relationship with G-d! As they are, gentiles are capable of nurturing magnificent connections with their Creator. In fact, it’s far, far easier to be a righteous gentile (with just seven universal mitzvahs ratified by every US President since Ronald Regan) than it is to be a righteous Jew (with 613 commandments). The Code of Jewish Law (Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:14; Laws of Teshuva 3:5) declares that Righteous Gentiles have a portion in the World to Come, just like Jews do.

In light of this perspective, the tragic recent events on college campuses across the nation seem to make much more sense. After a generation of G-d having been expelled from the classrooms of our children, a generation of youth has arisen without any sense of inherent self-worth. Instead of seeing themselves as the pinnacle of creation—endowed with purpose by the Creator of the Universe, they are taught they are nothing more than a genetic mutation that happened to chance upon the human race. Nothing about them is special, and all of life is random. When such a person sees the Jewish People thriving in their Divinely endowed purpose—they see red and all hell breaks loose!

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Someone else’s success is not your failure. Winners don’t make excuses—they train while losers complain. Failure defeats losers but motivates winners.

Instead of resenting the people who are jealous of you—respect their jealousy. These are the people who think you are amazing! Let us respond to hate with love and to emptiness with purpose—shining the light of consciousness on all humanity, one precious soul at a time!


Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens

6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418  | 561.624.2223

Instagram @JewishGardens

About the Author
Raised in South Africa, Rabbi Dovid Vigler is the founder and spiritual leader of Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. As a gifted orator and creative thinker, he strives to share the beauty and depth of Jewish Mysticism in a clear, conversational and down-to-earth manner. Whether in his popular in-person and written sermons or in his thought provoking Torah classes on social media, he raises his students to new heights by transforming ancient pearls of wisdom into modern solutions to timeless quandaries His weekly Radio Show—The Schmooze—was internationally broadcast on six stations, reaching nearly one hundred thousand listeners weekly for almost a decade. His most recent book, “If G-d is Good, Why Can Life Be So Bad?” is renowned for its unprecedented approach to making timeless Jewish mysticism understandable and relatable even to most uninitiated readers. It is available on Amazon. His inspirational books, seminars, essays and uplifting messages can be found on Follow his daily teachings at
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