At First Fruits of Zion, when it comes to US politics, we are apolitical. This is especially wise in a political season that has become so charged and appears to be so important.
Yesterday, I heard a short comment from Dennis Prager, a prominent US talk show host. He speaks on topics that range from ethics, politics, marriage, and everything in between. Prager comes from a conservative point of view and often times his comments reflect his conservative and religious (Jewish) perspectives.
I cannot quote him directly as I only heard his comments in passing. Nevertheless, he was expressing his concerns about several of the current GOP presidential candidates. Prager essentially said that Jews all know that we have lost our Temple(s) and thus our national identity (due to exile) from the sins of sexual immorality, murder, idolatry (First Temple), and baseless hatred (Second Temple).
Prager expressed his concern about the baseless hatred that is now taking place in the political arena. This really got me thinking. As a dual citizen in the US and in Israel I am concerned and feel morally obligated to fulfill my duty to vote and help shape the culture and direction of each of these great countries. I am well aware of the cost that the sin of baseless hatred has levied on the Jewish people and thus his parallel to this idea in regard to America caught my attention.
Is America in jeopardy of the sin and the consequences of baseless hatred? Consider this explanation from Eliezer Cohen:
Baseless hatred is different than just plain hatred. Plain hatred has a reason. For example, you hate a person who causes you financial loss or physical discomfort. But if you were to remove the cause (he were to pay you back, etc), you would have no reason to hate him.
Baseless hatred is different. Why should someone hate another if he is not threatened or damaged by him? Baseless hatred does not even require a relationship between two people. Baseless hatred is caused not by the other person's action but by a sub-conscious mechanism within the one who hates.
This person wants to feel that he is the center of his universe. It is his ego, his essential being, that demands everyone's attention. He craves the feeling of self importance. So when another person's mere presence threatens to diminish the importance of his being in his own eyes, then he will hate this person.
We can call him an ego centered person, but in reality he is worse.
A person like this is basically saying that he is the center of the world. All that exists revolves around him. Any one who threatens his feeling of importance is suspect. This is the root of baseless hatred.
Why did this cause the Temple's destruction and our lengthy exile? To a person like this even G-d Himself is of secondary importance. Of course he admits that G-d does exist. He may even be a very religious man. But for him, he is the center of the universe, not G-d.
This was the sin of sins! Because of this sin, we have stripped G-d and our fellow man of their singular importance in the world. We have made them into secondary players in our personal world in which we are the star. My friend exists for me. G-d exists for me.
We are in this long exile to learn that there is nothing other than G-d. It is not enough to say that G-d exists. We must know and feel that He is the true existence and we are just passing shadows in the history of absurdity.
Once we realize our correct place in this universe, then we have a chance of regaining our Temple. We have a chance to live together as brothers, and of sharing with each other. Then there will be peace in the world.
Like the situation with the Jewish people today, repenting from the sin of baseless hatred can restore our land. My prayer for this political season is that this explosion of hatred will cease and that real issues will be discussed. Someone will become the next president of the United States—but will their victory come at a great cost to America and thus the world?