Kenneth Cohen

Haters and Politics

As our election in Israel quickly approaches, there is an interesting observation to be made in the way far too many individuals decide on their candidate. This would be called the “hatred factor”.

In Judaism, hatred is a very negative, counterproductive emotion. We are forbidden to even “hate our brother in our heart.” We are taught that we must learn to love every Jew.

In certain Jewish writings, such as Orchot Tzaddikim, there is an implication that harboring feelings of hatred might be detrimental to one’s mental well being. He may “eat himself up” with these feelings of animosity that consume him.

This is why the Torah gives the commandment to rebuke the one who has wronged us. By letting the other person know that he has caused him a loss of money, or did him bodily harm, or shamed him, these intense feelings of hatred will be minimized.

It is clear that people who harp on their hatred of others, are not the kind of people we are advised to call our friends. Such obsessions and negativity, causes them to be very unhappy, miserable people.

In our upcoming elections, there are two sentiments of hatred that have been rearing their ugly heads. It is a strong animosity for Bibi Netanyahu, and the Chareidi, ultra Orthodox Jews of Israel.

A healthy approach to the elections, would be to examine each party, and vote for the one who best represents that person’s views. An unhealthy approach, would be to choose anyone other than that party head that he despises.

This obsession and hatred totally clouds one’s thinking. It becomes impossible to have a discussion of the issues, because all that matters is that their villain does not get in. All objectivity is thrown out the window. They are also unable to offer a better solution that will be for the good of the country.

Another sad consequence of such hatred is that if their villainous candidate wins, they will go into a serious depression. Their rants and sense of outright mourning, will not go away. For an individual that does not carry such animosity, he will suck up the defeat, and deal with his unchosen victor. He will wait for the next election, when he hopes the right people will be voted in.

So beware of the haters, and perhaps do a self check to be sure you are not one of them. Regardless of how one votes, it should be with careful examination and wisdom. Nothing good comes from a vote motivated by hatred. As Jews, we desperately need unity, and it will never be achieved if we single out a group of Jews or a former prime minister.

It should be the hope of every Jew that we finally receive a government that is G-d fearing, and offers security and protection to all its citizens.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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