Caricaturing evil

During the wars to conquest the Promised Land, the Torah suggests the children of Israel in a veiled way to make fun of their enemies. Our Jewish sages came to this interpretation based on semantic variations in the Torah’s narrative. We can infer from this suggestion diverse implications of turning our enemies into objects of mockery and ridicule.

We may consider this approach a simplistic psychological strategy to defeat opponents or antagonists, but it is not as simple as it looks if it comes from the Torah and the intricate relationship between Israel and the Creator. Yet the concrete matter here is caricaturing evil.

This leads us to reflect thoroughly on the evil nature of our enemies, which is as complex as the source and motivation to be and do evil. We are quite aware that anti-Semitism and Judeophobia were born along with our patriarch Abraham, and have existed ever since. The question is from what and why. The Torah has the answers.

Being against the conception of one and only God has never been a strong reason to hate Jews, or the “chosen” status of the Jewish people. After all, these are religious conceptions based on individual or collective belief. Searching for deeper, subconscious and unconscious “reasons”, we touch the bottom of the depths in human consciousness where the roots of good and evil dwell. We know that both are fundamental elements for us to exercise free will.

The Creator more than once commands us in the Torah to choose the blessings He calls life. Thus we realize that He created the curses of evil and death as references for us to choose goodness as the encompassing principle of all the blessings that life is.

The problem emerges when some people decide to make the curses of evil and death a choice and not a reference. Again we ask the motivation to choose evil and not goodness. The answers range from lack of love and goodness as the essential nutrients that sustain life, to the irrational motivation to be and do evil without a clear psychological cause. Somewhere in between we see national, ideological and religious reasons.


These come to explain systematic persecution and extermination of millions of people throughout history. The most conspicuous the Crusades and Islam’s perpetual war of domination followed by their fundamentalist sects, joined by nationalistic and economic interests that led to conquests, exploitation and genocides.

We all know this, but the issue we began to discuss is why we are commanded to caricature and ridicule evil. It must not exist as a credible or justified choice by the fact that it destroys what is truly credible and just for life.

The Jews have been persecuted and massacred because they are the people of the book that proclaims and commands humankind to be good, and to choose always the blessings of life. This is the answer to the millennial question we posed above.

We must muck and ridicule what pretends to vilify, undermine and oppress the goodness of human dignity. With this approach everyone who defends and fights for the goodness coming from love’s ways and attributes must unite regardless of national origin, creed, belief or ideology.

Goodness is above what we are or believe, for it is the foundation of life and what sustains life. Hence we are commanded by the Torah to choose the blessings as the goodness in life.

We must unite to caricature and ridicule religions and ideologies that pretend to destroy goodness and institutionalize the dominion of evil. Ironically, Islamic fundamentalists believe to have to right to caricature and make mockery of other religions, yet they have the nerve to impose death sentences to those who ridicule their beliefs.


We must eradicate evil, and the first step is to ridicule it. Let’s immortalize the legacy of Charlie Hebdo’s heroes who valiantly waged the war against our enemies. We must do it because goodness commands us to. May their legacy live forever.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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