Kenneth Cohen

Rethinking Evil

The tragic and horrific events of October seventh, should make a thinking individual re-evaluate some previously held ideas. This has serious ramifications regarding human nature.

A widely held philosophy had to deal with the less fortunate members of society. It was assumed that those suffering from poverty, or living in difficult conditions, could be rehabilitated. If they were given love, and helped financially, they would pick themselves up, and become morally, good people.

The overall premise was that all people are inherently good, and their bad behavior was an expression of their frustration at their unfortunate lot in life. All this could change by believing in them, and giving them opportunities to succeed.

The Torah is emphatic that evil exists. Not only does it exist, but it was created by G-d, Himself. He created evil as a test to see if man could distance himself from it, so that he would be worthy of the ultimate good awaiting him in the next world.

The Torah warned that everything depended on the use of one’s free will. He could choose to be righteous and saintly, or he could choose evil.
Just as it was possible for man to elevate himself to the highest levels of sanctity, it was also possible for evil to consume an individual, to the point that he was lower than an animal.

Unfortunately, we have witnessed the latter with the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by the Hamas animals. The theory of man’s inherent goodness has been thrown out the window. It’s all about the choices that human beings make.

As Dennis Prager once said, “It is not poverty that leads to committing crimes. It is moral poverty that is the cause.” Showering kindness and gifts to undeserving immoral people, consumed with Jew hatred and wishing for our annihilation, is not going to turn them into good people.
It is so sad that this lesson had to be learned with so much pain. Evil definitely exists, and it is very ugly. It is our duty to follow the instructions of our Torah, and utterly destroy evil from our midst.

There is a time for doing acts of kindness to those who are deserving. But there is also a time where we must learn, once and for all, that misplaced compassion is cruelty, for which we may pay a heavy price. Never again must we allow ourselves to succumb to such foolishness. May Hashem grant us the ability to utterly destroy Hamas, and all evil should be removed from the Jewish people, and the world.

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