Whatever your opinion on George W. Bush’s presidency, or his handling of America’s response to the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil, there can be no denying that his speech to a Joint Session of Congress a few short days later was pitch perfect.
“Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
“We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions … they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies.
“This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s fight.
“We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”
This binary ultimatum was a very powerful framing of the situation at the time.
Modern Man doesn’t like to view the world as ‘us vs them’. It sounds too discriminatory; it feels too bigoted.
‘Perhaps we should be more understanding…’, ‘There are always two sides…’, ‘Put yourself in their shoes…’
Whilst these arguments may carry some truth, we must not ignore the realities of good and evil.
Judaism teaches that G-d created two absolute forces in the world: Right and wrong, light and darkness, good and evil, pure and impure, holy and profanatory, truth and lies.
Yes, some things are black and white in the world.
Why did G-d create it this way? There is a time and place to ponder this. Now is not the time. Now is the time to confront this reality and act decisively.
King David wrote in Tehillim: “You who love the Lord, hate evil.” Spiritual Masters explain that the degree of one’s love for G-d can be measured by the extent of one’s hate for evil, and vice versa. Genuine love and devotion to G-d results in genuine hate and intolerance of evil.
To be clear, love for G-d means love for that which G-d is: truth, peace, justice, life. Any force which attempts to threaten these values must be hated and eradicated.
Decent people have a hard time hating. Hating seems in itself evil. Indeed, doesn’t the Torah prohibit hating?
The Torah prohibits hating people. However, there is a mitzvah to hate an evil ideology. This is expressive of our love for G-d.
Perhaps our hesitancy to properly hate is a result of our inability to properly love. When someone threatens to harm your wife and children, I hope you wouldn’t hesitate to fervently hate their actions and neutralize the threat.
President Bush’s challenge to all citizens of the world is now more poignant than ever. When it comes to matters which affect the very foundation of the world, everyone must take a side. Not halfheartedly but wholeheartedly. Not with reluctance but with resoluteness.
Ours is a generation which needs to learn how to love more. Ours is a generation which needs to learn how to hate more. Love good and hate evil.
King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said it clearly: “There is a time to love, and a time to hate.”
He then continued: “A time for war, and a time for peace.” Commentaries explain, that peace is driven by love and war is driven by hate. Both are necessary.
I have no doubt that if we all learned how to properly hate evil, we will finally succeed in restoring true peace in the world.