After the barbarous attacks by Hamas on Israel last week, aside from complete outrage, many of us are also naturally questioning how this could happen and feeling dispirited in the face of such evil in this world.
Terrorist Brutality in the 21st Century
Certainly, as we search for G-d in what is supposed to be an “enlightened” and “modern” 21st-century world, the prospect of an existence where sick and depraved terrorists, en-masse, invade, murder, rape, behead, burn alive, and take hostage innocent men, women, children, and the elderly, and then even try to obscenely justify their actions, is deeply troubling, if not outright confounding.
Sure, we are faced with pain, suffering, and bad people every day, but the scope and scale of this evil that was broadcast in our living rooms, bedrooms, and on our computers and phones round-the-clock makes it not just a distant happenstance that we can somehow deny or shrug off, but something that literally shakes the foundations of our very world. And this is all the more so for those of us who love the State of Israel and believe in G-d’s shaping hand in the course of history and our very existence every day.
This week, I heard some say that indeed this was the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust, reminiscent of the pogroms that the Jews in exile regularly suffered at the hands of many of their vile neighbors and morally corrupt governments. Further, many asked, “Isn’t this what the State of Israel was supposed to solve for us as Jews?” Especially as we recite in the Hatika: “To be a free nation in our own land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”
Understanding Evil and Suffering
In a sense, there is no satisfactory answer that we can give to the age-old question, “Why does evil and suffering exist in the world?” or “Why do bad things happen to good people?” These can definitely be lengthy philosophical discussions and debates: whether we say that good can only exist if evil does as well, we therefore have a choice between them, or that G-d tests our faith and seeks for us to learn and grow as people in trying times and circumstances. Regardless of the truths of these, try telling this to someone who saw their wives, grandmothers, and children brutally raped, abducted, tortured, and/or viciously murdered this week.
For now, we are wholly inconsolable, and we should be, especially as we pick up the pieces of our loved ones torn apart and whole communities destroyed, and as we seek to hold those who did it accountable!
Brainwashed for Jihad
This is a time of heart-wrenching mourning for our families, communities, the Jewish nation, and, in fact, the entire civilized world. It is also a time of deep introspection into the type of world we live in where these vile acts are not just permitted to occur, but in some depraved communities, they are indeed celebrated and, more so, actively seeking escalating intifada and genocidal Jihad.
In one interview that I watched this week, I saw a radicalized Muslim man saying that he hates the interviewer. The interviewer, who doesn’t even know the man, asks, “Why do you hate me?” The hate-filled man responds that he hates all Christians and all Jews (i.e., the infidels). The interviewer asks whether the man wants to kill him. And the man vehemently responds that if we’re at war, “I would chop your head off.” And there was no doubt that he meant it!
Truly, some people are worse than animals. Unlike an animal that kills because it is hungry, there are people that kill with a lust for it, for the sport of it, or even sadistically, with utter hate and contempt for humanity.
Muslims and Jews United
Despite all this, I think it is critical to keep in mind that this is not everybody. Again, there are good people and there are bad people.
While some disgusting people mocked us in our mourning, wiping away fake tears and then spitting violently on the ground at us, yesterday, I had the opposite experience where a Muslim woman, whose family is friends with us, stopped me and just said plain out to me:
I was taken aback given the Hamas attack this week and the subsequent protests and confrontations erupting all over the world this week, but I managed to thank her for her kind sentiments and outreach to me.
She continued then to repeat to me over and over, and with obvious deep conviction, about these radical Islamic monsters:
We hate them!
Our people hate them!
What they do to us!
We hate them!
This was really something for me to hear at this time. These terrorists and their corrupt leaders don’t just attack “the infidels,” but they terrorize and persecute their own people and are completely hated for it. Indeed, this is happening by Hamas in Gaza, by Hezbollah in Lebanon, by the evil Iranian Ayatollah and his corrupt regime in Iran, by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and so forth. Given how they are oppressing and brutalizing their own people, is it any wonder what they would do to the rest of us?
To me, this is certainly one of the lessons here: good people are terrorized and persecuted by evil people around the world, and when we let evil take hold “there” then it is just a matter of time before it comes “here.”
None of us can be quiet bystanders in the war of good against evil. Silence is acceptance and is deafening. There is no hiding from evil, because like locusts, it spreads until it covers the face of the earth, and we take a stand against it!
At the end of my conversation with the Muslim lady, I said to her, and I meant it:
We’re friends, and we’ll always be friends.
It’s a war of good vs. evil.
This isn’t anything about Palestinian vs. Israeli or Muslim vs. Christian and Jew. It is everything about evil vs. good. Hate and terror are diseases, and we need to eradicate their ideology, structures, and sponsors. The only reason they exist is that “someone” is benefiting from them! Unfortunately, the people are brainwashed with hate and threatened if they don’t go along with it by those who live off it. To them, dead Palestinians are martyrs whose photos can go on CNN and MSNBC.
While all people may be created equal, some end up good and some have gone awfully bad, and we need to differentiate between the two. And yes, there are plenty of “grays in between.” In the end, we need to embrace those who are faithful, decent human beings (even with flaws and all), and we must soulfully band together to root out and confront the entire system of evil, where and for what it truly is, and before it’s too late.