Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anti-Semitism 2

It was taught in the Beraisa: Rabbi Akiva said: “When I was an am huoretz (uneducated person), I said, ‘Give me a Talmid Chacham (Sage of Talmud) that I might bite him like a donkey.’ Said his students to him, “Rabbi should you say, rather, [like a] dog?” He answered them: “When donkey bites, it break the bones, while a dog doesn’t.” (Talmud Pesuchim 49b)
The Maharal from Prague explains this Gemura in Sefer "Beer Hagola" (as translated by Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein) in the following way.
While the bite of the dog may be painful and leave marks on the body, the bite of the donkey smashes the tissue together with the bone, destroying it beyond recognition. Basically, it annihilates the bitten part of the body. Enemies of the Torah are upset not by the fact of what adherents of the Torah do; they can not accept their very existence. His - the enemy, greatest desire is to destroy them completely. This is how Rabbi Akiva should be understood over here, and this is how "Beer Hagola" explains this Gemura.
So was also the case of Amulek, the ultimate enemy of the Jewish people. This nation of adversaries couldn’t accept the fact that the people of Torah becoming a reality when they attacked Jews soon after Yetzias Mitzraim (leaving Egypt). They can’t allow it today.
This, unfortunately, is what an uneducated Jew has in common with the very worst enemy of the holy Nation. This is what rabbi Akiva is saying about himself. If he would say it about someone else, for some, his creditability wouldn’t be so strong as when he is giving his personal testimony.
Why do they hate?
Chazal—rabbis and sages—describe the nature of the human being in various ways: It is Body and it is Spirit. It is matter and form. Man is built from two conflicting elements, allowing him to exercise his freedom of choice. One of the descriptions used, states the higher part of the body is that of an angel and the lower part of the body is that of an animal. It is very deep and profound teaching which we cannot discuss in this short essay. It would also enter the area of holy teachings, where I’m more a stranger than for the rest of Torah. I will talk only how I understand this on my poor and inadequate level, as the deeper knowledge is limited to me.
It is our body where the presence of all the enzymes and hormones, together with other chemical and electrical reactions within our brain and rest of the body, constitutes us as humans. This is where the Yeytzer Haraa – the evil urge dwells. This is what we have in common with created with the world of animals. However, as it was said last week, man was created as intelligent being. He has potential to engage his animalistic nature in service of intellect. The only key to do it is his will—the freedom of choice. This is exactly what the Creator wants him to do, and what He desires from humanity—the submission of the corporeal to the intellectual and the intellectual to the spiritual.
However, to keep the balance on the playing field of Bechira—choice—the evil urge is created and kept strong. The power of egoism, self-gratification, hunger for instant pleasure, indulgence in temporariness; make our struggle difficult.
Many if not most are giving up. Many are unwilling to join the common struggle toward betterment. The sin has a sweet taste.
But there is also this implanted sentiment that we are something better than this low animalistic creature, that we can and we deserve higher. For most people, this emotion, takes form of Gava—haughtiness. Haughtiness in turn, is causing them to sin to an even greater extent. But deep, deep in their hearts they know that this is not the direction which they should choose; they can recognize with their intellects the basics of Good and Evil. They choose Evil and they hate themselves for it. They hate that better part of themselves; they hate this mechanism of conscience which is accusing them of doing Evil.
However the mechanisms of self-preservation are not allowing them to direct mental or active hate toward themselves. That’s why they, the evildoers, need scapegoats, to put it on the altar of the Devil. They find this scapegoat in the people who choose to fight their nature. People whose very existence is a constant accusation—the fact that they are and they fight their moral imperfections—are inconvenient for them to the highest degree, even when their conscience is completely inactive. The fact that someone chooses good is an accusation they can not tolerate.
The Nation of Torah fit this purpose of being their scapegoat in the best possible way.
Matys Weiser

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