At least distasteful and certainly false are theories that explain which people bear guilt when tragedy strikes. Only Prophets know such things if G^d told them. Falsely pretending to be a Prophet is a capital offense.
Still, it is not true that we cannot understand anything. Our Jewish Tradition gives some very distinct, undeniable insights. Here is a list.
1. G^d is in charge of it all. Judaism is clear that one G^d runs the whole picture, and not one god for good and one for bad.
2. G^d loves us. All He does is ultimately (not always immediately) for our best. Even human death, the most horrible thing under the sun, can be understood (by me) as for our good, while I want G^d to end Death now.
3. The energy that enables some Gentiles to hate Jews comes from Jews hating Jews for no (valid) reason at all. NB: Typically, the victims of antisemitic violence are our exceptionally saintly ones, and not those who do the Jew-hating. As soon as all Jews have enough empathy, patience, tolerance, and respect to love all Jews, no antisemite can hurt any of us.
4. We don’t blame Jews for antisemitism. Antisemites are the culprits. We even don’t blame Jews for hating Jews. Our internal discord comes from the tension put on all Jews by antisemitism, and the Gentiles who still didn’t uproot this yet. We don’t blame the victim. (We even don’t blame the villains. When Gentiles murdered Jews, we try to prevent repetition, but we can’t ‘get even.’ We leave it to ‘G^d to revenge their blood.’ What we can do are good deeds to perpetuate the good name of the murdered. Anger is an easy and cover-up emotion. Jews generally cry at a funeral.)
5. Yet, we are not mere rocks rolling down the mountain, leaves fluttering in the wind, or animals driven by instincts. Without blaming ourselves, we still have Free Choice to sidestep all animosity and unite with all Jews.
6. Judaism (not our sentiments) tells us of three exceptions, but they are extremely rare. 1. Jews who have turned into such monsters that they lost their human face (e.g. Gaddafi). 2. Jews who have no Jewish friend left. 3. Jews who hand over Jews to hostile Gentiles for persecution. So, we are still obligated to respect self-hating Jews who spread Antisemitic myths.
7. Easier to grasp than all Jews respecting/loving all Jews is the concept of Jewish unity. For inspiration, I’ll give a few examples.
- When Jews start infighting, say: Let it go; it’s not important now.
- When atheistic Israeli Jews attack ‘the dangerous’ religious, say: the next governments will all be center-left for at least a century. Oppose but don’t vilify those bound to lose control; it’s distasteful.
- When religious Israeli Jews attack ‘the dangerous’ atheists, say: It is our failure that we did not succeed to kindle in them the Jewish passions that we feel (and possibly are blind to the Jewishness of their passions). If you must blame, blame yourself—or better: take responsibility for the two camps getting closer, instead of name-calling, distancing yourself from ‘them,’ and sawing discord.
It’s not just that unity gives more power or wastes less energy. The virtue and sacredness of unity are so exalted before the One who is One, that wicked but united armies deserve to win wars from holy but divided ones.
8. True unity doesn’t come from ignoring key differences. Rather, we must learn to agree to disagree, and at times, put disputes on the backburner.
9. In any important dialogue (also between spouses), both parties often feel the strongest that the other should understand us. The best way to get there is by prioritizing understanding the other. Listen when you used to preach. Most people, after being listened to, find it easier to listen too. If you must yell, be modest about how much time you need. Give the other time to yell too, so they won’t need a simultaneous shouting match.
10. The Ninth of Adar, this Wednesday, is one of the most appalling days of infighting in Jewish history. The Rabbis suggest we’d fast to rectify what happened. I’d say that this year, those who can, should come to Jerusalem to demonstrate against any legal overhaul but without any name-calling, doom-proclaiming, or blaming. Rather, 67% of all Israelis already agree we should just advocate what we want and express gratefulness.
Be an activist today, still. Fight for Jewish unity.