Because of hatred for Jews, my four grandparents were gassed at Auschwitz. My surviving parents were very smart about that. They said to their postwar children: That we hate Germans we can’t help. But you have no permission.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach also survived the Holocaust. He picked up the Ashkenazic Jews after WW II, and taught us again to laugh, sing, dance and love. He said: After the Holocaust it’s so easy to be angry at the world …. But we have to continue to love the world. We have to.
He also said: If I had two hearts, I would use one for loving and one for hating. But since I only have one heart, I rather use it for loving.
Hate burdens the hater. If we truly loved ourselves, we’d stop hating.
Top Rabbi Joseph Dweck said: G-d is taking the world towards love. Homosexuals show that there can be love and warmth between men.
(Maybe hence the two first major rabbis to understand homosexuals (Dweck and Riskin) are Cohanim, who bless Jews with G-d’s love!)
How typical of Judaism that it not only teaches that G-d loves us and we should love G-d but that we must love each other. Jewish love is not greedy (I need you) or sentimental (with all my heart) but rather: empathy in action. Ponder what another needs and then provide that.
In the Torah, hatred is not just burning detestation, but often: a small deficiency in the amount of love that should have been displayed.
There are two types of people in the world: people who divide mankind into two types, and people who don’t. If some people would really be evil, they would not be accountable for doing evil. But if you think they are responsible, that implies that they are good people who did wrong.
Hate’s not a lack of love. It’s love gone sour. It’s still a strong emotional connection. The opposite is disinterest. Clean up hate and find love.
We don’t need to hate to condemn wrongs. We don’t need to separate and distance ourselves from people who think or act despicably. Rather, we need to get closer and win them over to be humane again.
This is especially true for allies. Jews don’t need to transform all anti-Semites; Gentiles should. Women do not need to re-educate all men; other men should. Whites, take on racists; snobs, help other snobs regain humbleness; straights, set homophobes straight; etc.
Yet, we should not go after the worst bigots. When contradicting those, our aim should be to reach their followers, to win over the small bigots. When none of them are left, their leaders will be out of a job too.
When we try to soften hearts of haters, we need to come in with love for them. Not love for their hatred but yes love and care for them. No person is born a hater. What happened to them that their attitudes got so distorted? To find out, we need to listen, not scream to them. Love is stronger than hatred. If we can’t help hating, let’s hate in silence.
Don’t pretend not to hate. Research it. Hate is often rooted in fear and sadness. When we can’t let go of our hatred, ask: Did we suffer a loss that hasn’t healed yet? Or: Are we scared because of a fear we didn’t ridicule yet? Are we afraid that their bigotry will rub off on us? It won’t.
Open your heart and love them, because people can best “change” (become themselves) when they are properly loved. When rejected, they will become stubborn and double down. You want to see people change for the better? Love them! (This works for spouses too.)
You don’t need hatred, to oppose bigotry, to chant slogans against bigotry, to stop violent hate-crimes, to dis-empower bigots. Be firm and look mean when you oppose wrong policies. But when you interact with such opponents, don’t forget to let them know that you love them and care. (But if they pose a physical danger, protect yourself, run.)
Listen to them when they share their pain. They may not know why they are in pain but in pain they are. Help them find empathy. Don’t agree with any blame (yes, women are terrible), nor oppose it (I think that women are great) – rather focus on them: It really hurts, doesn’t it? A long time ago, they must have been made to feel terrible about themselves that they resorted to hatred, to feel any good, superficially.
NB: Don’t make bigots look sympathetic in the media. Any glimpse of them looking humane, “just like us,” will be abused to further legitimize and spread their malignant views. Don’t interview them about their lives. Until they changed their minds, their stardom is noxious.
Don’t give haters an open microphone. There is no positive value in being accessory to spreading hatred. Anything said from hate should be challenged immediately. Don’t be a silent push-over in the face of evil. Trash the message – but not the communicator. Counter: This is unbecoming, I expect better from a human being. Don’t legitimize tirades by branding the ranter evil. Not because it’s “not nice,” but rather because it’s incorrect and ineffective if not counter-productive.
Don’t equate hatred from victims of oppression and hatred from people trained to oppress. For the former, empathy will help healing; for the latter, empathy is personal, condemnation of the hate must be general. Do call each evil by it’s specific name, which makes it easier to defeat.
The worst haters and liars (all hate lies, all haters lie) should go to jail, but still be pampered and loved; and not “because they’re human too.” Rather, so that after repentance they may teach all, that hating groups of people is wrong. Who could better propagate this than they could?
Love conquers all, Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil) said already 2000 years ago. Last month 50 years ago, the Beatles released “All you need is love” by John Lennon: “It’s easy.” Just do it.
If you can’t stop your hating, find out why. But in any case, for people, use love. You’ll accomplish more and live better and longer. If your heart’s rusty and you find it hard to love, just for now, respect will do.
(Don’t miss the great links in the text!)