Downfall of the Enemy: Anti-Semitism Response on Ask the Rabbi
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Downfall of the Enemy

I married a negative person who has a very negative attitude. All these years whenever his meanness or negativity was pointed in my direction, I would scream and cry and pray to God to help me. Never in all my years did I think to ask God to help my husband become a nice, kind, loving person. I am doing that now.

This made me think about how I would pray for the Jews is Israel. Will it help to pray for the Arabs to love them?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

You've arrived at a deep spiritual truth.

The Talmud (Brachot 10a) tells about some neighborhood bandits who were constantly harassing Rabbi Meir. One day Rabbi Meir prayed that they should die.

His wife Bruria said, "Is such a prayer permitted? The verse in Psalms 104:35 says that 'SINS will cease from the earth' – not that 'SINNERS will cease from the earth.' So rather than pray for their demise, you should pray for them to repent."

Rabbi Meir listened to his wife and prayed that the bandits return to the righteous path. Soon after the bandits reformed their ways.

Every human being is created in the image of God and we should pray for their return to sanity.

The story is told of a woman sitting at home with her pet cat, when a mouse suddenly runs loose through the house. The woman and the cat share a common goal: They both want the mouse removed. The difference is that the woman simply wants the mouse to stop bothering her, but the cat wants it dead.

Jews in Israel don't want to kill Arabs, God forbid. We just want to be left alone to live in peace.

If they do not choose the path of peace, and they suffer because of it, we are still instructed not to rejoice at the downfall of an enemy (Proverbs 24:17).

Jews have always shown tremendous respect, even for their enemies. The Midrash explains that during the last six days of Passover, we do not say the complete Hallel prayer of joyful praises, because when the Jews crossed the Red Sea, God said, "Since my creations [the Egyptians] are drowning, you should not be singing praises."

Ezekiel 39:13 describes how the Jewish people were credited with a tremendous sanctification of God's Name, by treating enemy corpses with great respect. In modern times, I recall an incident a few years ago when Palestinian terrorist Abu Jihad was assassinated, and the Palestinians were certain the Israelis did it. How did they know? Because Abu Jihad's wife and children were left unharmed.

We would much prefer to live at peace with the Arabs. And we pray for them to pursue the path of peace.

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