click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

The Power of Hate: New Year’s Resolutions and the United Nations
Rabbi Benjamin Blech

The Power of Hate: New Year’s Resolutions and the United Nations

Hate is a far greater motivator than reward.


Are you one of the 45 percent of Americans who will be making New Year resolutions next week?

It seems like such a wonderful idea. Give up bad habits. Lose weight. Become a new and better you. But statistics tell us that 80 percent fail by February. The total for those who give up rises to 92 percent by the end of the year.

Surely there must be a better way to ensure success. Thanks to some fascinating psychological research about human behavior we now know there is a secret to getting people to live up to their promises, to carry out their resolutions, to stick with their commitments in spite of the difficulties that are sure to come their way.

We’ve been looking at the problem the wrong way for the longest time. We failed to acknowledge a quirk of human nature. We’ve always been taught that the ideal way to achieve a desired goal is by way of reward. A prize is the greatest incentive.

It turns out there is something much more powerful that can motivate us. It’s been proven to keep us from defeat, from giving up and from raising a white flag before realizing our goals. It’s a system with an unusual name – and it’s called “the anti-charity”, described by the social scientist Vanessa Van Edwards.

What if, instead of setting up some kind of reward system for yourself – every time you lose 5 pounds you allow yourself one small dessert – you set aside a sum of money as punishment for not achieving your goal. But here’s the kicker: the money you must now contribute has to go to a cause you detest, an organization you hate, a charity which goes against every value you hold dear and every belief you cherish.

You would in effect be helping what you hate, and psychologically hate is a far greater motivator than the love of a reward for oneself.

The “anti-charity” concept has proven quite successful in the realm of New Year’s resolutions. Applied for the sake of promoting the realization of a desired commitment, it turns the power of hate into a positive achievement. The power of hate also helps explain what’s behind some counter–rational events like the recent vote of the United Nations condemning America’s acceptance of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

128 nations, almost 2/3 of the 193 member states of the global alliance, voted against the decision of the United States. Countries which continue to be the recipients of America’s supremely generous aid apparently felt no hesitation in biting the hand which feeds them and insulting their greatest patron – even though the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Halley, made clear there would be financial consequences for those countries who ignored the mutual responsibilities implicit in friendships.

Simply put, it doesn’t make sense for the large majority of these nations to have voted as they did. It was not in their self-interest. But, as we now know, hatred is the most powerful motivator. And hatred of Israel continues to be the most distinguishing feature of that organization ostensibly dedicated to peace.

It is a truth well to be remembered.

Much as we pray for peace in a world intoxicated by its age-old animosity toward the Jewish people, the millennia- old syndrome of anti-Semitism attempting to disguise itself as anti-Zionism, we know our only hope lies in the famous words long ago prophesied by then Prime Minister Golda Meir: “Peace will only come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

Tragically, so far hate seems to be winning United Nations resolutions – with even much greater success than its role in New Year’s resolutions.

December 25, 2017

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 5

(4) Nancy, December 27, 2017 12:46 PM

Slightly off topic, but......

Hello Rabbi--
I happen to know you are the Rabbi Emeritus of my Shul, Young Israel of Oceanside. Alas, this was before my time in the community. However, I hope you will visit us one Shabbos so that I can meet you in person.

(3) Caroline Bridges, December 27, 2017 1:07 AM

Fear not Hate

It is FEAR rather than hate which stopped the united Nations from voting with the USA. That doesn't mean that there isn't some hate involved from certain quarters, but I believe that most are very afraid of consequences to be seen to vote pro Jerusalem. Personally I think it was gutless of them to withhold or vote against but fear is the predominating factor here.

(2) ET, December 26, 2017 11:43 PM

Check yourself first

If everyone would practice 'do unto others as you want done unto you' it would be a better world. But, so many Jews teach hate of non-Jews. So, hate creates hate, and animosity towards those who preach that they are better than others, or we do not associate with non-Jews because they are bad people. It is a matter of good or evil, every culture and race has those who are not practicing good, or those who promote hate and separatism. Jews that are teaching hate of non-Jews need to be called out, because they are making the problem worse.

(1) Tzvi, December 26, 2017 2:24 PM

Rebbe- Let’s Be Honest

Rebbe- we who have been your students know that it has been YOU who has been at the vanguard of the fight for Jewish continuity. I am reminded of an Arab proverb that states- “An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.” Where would Klal Yisroel without having Rabbi Blech as a “commanding officer”? Rebbe- YOU are that lion. I just hope that more people can look to Rabbi Blech for inspiration to teach the love and fire of Torah- which will guide us to the Geulah. Your Loyal Talmid- Tzvi In Philadelphia

Benjamin Blech, December 27, 2017 12:12 AM

Touched beyond words

I am profoundly moved by your most kind words - of which I feel unworthy but by which I am profoundly inspired to redouble my efforts on behalf of klal Yisroel, Eretz Yisroel and my many talmidim, past, present and future.

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment