By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried
Dear Rabbi Fried,
We have been completely unnerved by the fallout which immediately began after the massacre in Israel. We expected compassion and understanding of the unimaginable loss in Israel and instead, it unleashed a shocking level of support for the massacre! It makes no sense, from intelligent, civilized people! Do you have any insights from Judaism to explain this?
Marc and Rachel
Dear Marc and Rachel,
Many Jews and Gentiles as well are shocked to the core with the kinds of responses you are referring to. Tens and even hundreds of thousands immediately rushed to march and riot in favor of Hamas and against Israel. Especially our universities — previously thought of as bastions of free thought, tolerance and modernity — have revealed themselves as cesspools of hatred. Professors have spoken to large gatherings of students, proclaiming their feelings of exhilaration upon hearing of the massacre! Imagine, a professor in an American high-ranking university in 2023 expressing exhilaration and joy over the murder of babies, teenagers and elderly…
Look a bit deeper and notice that the same universities who have been ultra-sensitive to micro-aggressions, not allowing even the slightest statements that might feel somewhat insulting to another student, are okay with macro-aggressions against the feeling of Jewish students on campus.
The sad but true answer to all of this — and we should make no mistake about it — is the lowest, most sinister form of antisemitism which has now reared its ugly head in full rigor in America and throughout the world. Until now many of these people were hiding behind the façade of criticism of the policies of Israel and territorial arguments. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” has nothing to do with territory and everything to do with the extermination of the Jewish people in Israel, which, by the way, is explicit in Hamas’ charter.
Anyone who marches with these people, whether they like it or not, are complicit in the Hitlerian plot of Hamas, Iran and their cohorts who want nothing more than to finish off the unfinished business of Hitler and complete the Final Solution. Many of them have become more explicit, such as the Australian march calling to “gas the Jews” and some in America proclaiming, “We want genocide.”
Without citing all the sources, all the above has been predicted in rabbinic literature prophesying what will transpire in the End of Days, the period of time preceding Messianic times. The sources say that will take place by the offspring of Ishmael, the son of Isaac and progenitor of the Arab naation. It is meant to be a time of clarification, when falsehood will no longer hide and closet antisemites will come out of the closet into clear view.
Part of the purpose of G-d allowing this is to serve as a wake-up call to the Jews that we are in diaspora, not in our final resting place. It is to remind us that we are different, no matter how much we try to be the same as our neighbors around us. And what makes us different is our Torah, our obligation and our connection to G-d. The events around us are meant to shatter our dreams of complacency, reminding us the we have a purpose as a Light Unto the Nations and to become sources of that light by reconnecting to our source, our Torah and prayers.
When we do so, living up to our purpose, we are promised to be redeemed from all of these problems for all time, returning to Israel and reveling in the revelation of Messianic times.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is dean of DATA–Dallas Area Torah Association.