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History Repeats Itself: Baseless Hatred

"Man walks into mall with guns and murders 20 people....", "19 year old Israeli soldier stabbed while out running errands...". We see these headlines over and over again. The common thread is that the people carrying out these horrific attacks are filled with extreme hate.

It's hard to hear about these events anytime during the year, in my opinion, it's especially hard to hear about these things during The Nine Days. As I mentioned in my previous blog, The Nine Days are a period from the 1st-9th of Av where we mourn the destruction of both of the Holy Temples. Our sages teach us that the Second Temple was destroyed because of Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred).

One example of Sinat Chinam is the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza. There was a man who had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy named Bar Kamtza. He held a party one day and told his servant to invite Kamtza. His servant brought Bar Kamtza instead. When the host arrived, he saw Bar Kamtza sitting down. He asked Bar Kamtza to leave. Bar Kamtza tried reasoning with him, even stating that he would cover the cost of the entire party if he was allowed to stay. The host said "No" and forced him to leave. Bar Kamtza decided to seek revenge and told the Emperor that the Jews were organizing a rebellion.

I see many parallels in the overall society today. This past week, there were two horrific shootings in the U.S., in addition to countless acts of violence that occur in the inner cities everyday. There are people sending out hateful messages about this group or that group on social media. What are the repercussions of all this hate?

We need to teach our children to value human life and to respect others. We need leaders like Moshe, who at the end of his life told the Israelietes “Observe [these laws] carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deut. 4:6). May we merit to see peace throughout the world very soon.

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