Sunday, December 5, 2010


Rabbi Meir Kahane 
The Jewish Idea (Or Hara’ayon)

REVENGE (Excerpts)

Love has its place, and so does hate.  Peace has its place, as does war.  Mercy has its place, as do cruelty and revenge.  The Torah dons sackcloth over the distortion of the concept of revenge, which has become a target for the arrows of all Jewish Hellenists and worshippers of the alien culture, as if revenge were negative and evil by nature.

The very opposite is true!  No trait is more justified than revenge in the right time and place.  G-d, Himself, is called Nokem, Avenger.  “The L-rd is a zealous and avenging G-d.  The L-rd avenges and is full of wrath.  He takes revenge on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies” (Nachum 1:2).  Our sages also said (Berachot 33a), “Shall we say that even revenge is great because it appears between two names of G-d?  ‘A G-d of vengeance is the L-rd’ (Ps. 94:1).  R. Elazar
responded, “Indeed.  Where revenge is necessary, it is a great thing” (see Rashi)

“It is a great thing!”  It is a great mitzvah to take the revenge of the righteous and humble from the evildoer.  Whoever forgoes or rejects such an opportunity is cruel, and he denies belief in G-d.  As King David said (Ps. 58:11-12):

The righteous man shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance.  He shall   wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.  Men shall say, “Verily there is a reward for the righteous.  Verily there is a G-d Who judges on earth.”

The victory of injustice and wickedness is ostensible proof of G-d’s’s absence from the world, and there is no greater profanation of G-d’s name .  By contrast,
 G-d’s victory and revenge over His enemies, the evildoers, prove to the world that “verily there is a G-d Who judges on earth!” (Ps 58:12).

“Moses yearned.”  He did not merely wish or hope, but he yearned.  The righteous yearn to see revenge against the evil, for it proves that “there is a G-d Who judges on earth.”

By contrast, whoever relents from revenge against Israel’s enemies is actually giving up on avenging G-d for whoever attacks the people of Israel is actually attacking the G-d of Israel by showing that he does not fear Divine retribution.  Our sage said (Sifri, Matot 157):

“The L-rd spoke to Moses saying, ‘Take revenge for the Children of Israel against the Midianites’…Moses spoke to the people saying, ‘Detach men for armed service against Midian, so that the L-rd’s revenge can be taken against the Midianites” (Num. 31:1-3): This is in praise of the righteous.  They do not depart from the world until they take revenge on behalf of Israel, which is the revenge of Him Who brought the world into being.
G-d told Moses to take revenge “for the children of Israel,” and Moses called it
“G-d’s revenge,” to inform us that the two are the same. 

Certainly, revenge against one’s fellow Jew is a negative thing, since one’s animosity is just personal and our sages preached indulgence in such cases.  Although G-d does take revenge against Jews who rebel and deny His existence. 

Consider what a lack of love and friendship there is in the heart of the Jewish Hellenist who rebels against the G-d of Israel and His morality, who ventures to be more “ethical” and righteous than his Creator!

Whoever knows that Jewish blood has been spilt and is aware of the pain and suffering caused to his Jewish brethren by cruel gentiles, yet does not demand that their blood and suffering be avenged is himself wicked and cruel.  He lacks the anger and hatred toward wickedness and cruelty which are part of G-d’s command to “love your {Jewish} neighbor as yourself.”  Whoever criticizes such revenge is not ethical or merciful, but a cruel ally of murderers.  The Midrash (Kohelet Rabbah 8:4; Bereshit Rabbah 55:3) states:
The king’s word has power” (Eccles8:4): Israel said before G-d,’ Master of the Universe!  You wrote in Your Torah, ‘Do not take revenge nor bear a grudge’ (Lev.19:18), yet You take revenge and bear grudges, as it says: ‘The L-rd takes vengeance’ (Nachum 1:2)”…G-d said to Israel,
“I wrote in the Torah, “Do not take revenge nor bear a grudge against the children of your people,’ but I take revenge and bear grudges against the nations, as in, ‘Avenge the Children of Israel (Num.31:2), thereby fulfilling, “The king’s world has power.”
G-d will go forth to avenge His great name, profaned among the nations, and to avenge the Jewish People, through whose humiliation and distress at the hands of the nations His name was profaned.  At that time of redemption.  He will awaken, so to speak, like one who recovers from drunkenness (Ps78:65). “Then the L-rd will awaken as one asleep, like a mighty man recovering from wine.”

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