Hitler and Evil
I have some difficulty with the Jewish concept of sins being mere "mistakes" - especially when I see so much intentional evil in the world. It is difficult for me to imagine Hitler as a 'confused and mistaken' person, when he was so clearly filled with flagrant hatred and evil. Can you explain?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
Before answering your question, let's first discuss a very high realm of human endeavor: creativity.
Creativity is taking raw materials and turning it into something productive. For example, brushing paint onto a canvas, transforming a wash of color into a beautiful scene. Or forming steel into a 747.
One of the elements of creativity is having control over that which you are creating. For example, the artist must have control over his eye, his arm, and the paint, in order to translate his ideas into reality.
Why is creativity such a thrill? Because it touches the essence of God. The highest degree of creativity was God's creation of the world. He made something from absolutely nothing. Only an Infinite Being can do that. Expressing our own creativity is a taste of that power.
However, people sometimes make the mistake of thinking that merely manipulating the pieces makes them creative. Stalin and Hitler (and a long list of other tyrants) went for forced control - and in the process destroyed lives and society. It was a counterfeit illusion of creativity.
The way to distinguish between "creating" or "controlling" is by looking at the result: Creativity builds the world. Control destroys it.
In one sense, Hitler was operating on a very high level of human endeavor. But he was very very confused - and going in the negative direction. That's a mistake. Six million tragic mistakes.