Kenneth Cohen

Hopeless Evil

The Rambam discusses the subject of evil, and uses the behavior of Pharaoh in Egypt, as proof to his theory.

He explains that although we believe that man was given free will, if he chooses a path of evil, this free will can be taken from him. The hope is that every sinner will come to repent for his sins, but this is not always the case.

Pharaoh lost his free will after the first five plagues. After this, Hashem hardened his heart, and he was unable to let the Jewish people go, until Egypt was smitten with all Ten Plagues.

He was so deep in his evil, that there was no way for him to get out. In the Tanya, a book studied mainly by Chabad Chassidut, it also speaks of a person reaching a point of no return, where repentance cannot happen. This is referred to as, “being in the Kelipa,” or stuck in a shell that envelops him.

Until recently, and hopefully, this has changed, there were many who believed that there was no such thing as evil. If people were only showered with kindness and love, they would mend their ways.

Aside from it being stated openly in Isaiah, that Hashem, Himself, created evil, the world has witnessed what pure evil really is.

The Hamas and their followers, are a living example of what the Rambam described. The Jews in Egypt witnessed it with Pharoah. And we are witnessing this evil today. The Torah makes it clear how we are to act when it said, ובערת הרע מקרבך, “And you must burn out evil from your midst.” There must not be any compromise or discussion. Evil must be destroyed.

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
Related Topics
Related Posts