This essay, following in the wake of the Rabin assassination,
analyzes the loud rhetoric of those who portray their
opponents on Israeli security issues as murderers and Nazis.
Reasonable people disagree on these issues and yet the
loudmouths are sure that their opponents are evil people
arrogantly leading the Jewish state to destruction. Some bluster
only as a means of feeling their own self-importance but others
take the rhetoric all too literally. Even with regard to the first
group, bullying speech from the mouths of Orthodox Jews,
including rabbis, constitutes a desecration of the Divine name.
Rabbi Carmy mentions that repentance includes both
acknowledging the sin and recognizing that the sin was not
worth it. Does hate filled rhetoric and the violence that follows
truly help the Jewish people? Does it not remind us of the
atmosphere that led up to the destruction of the Second
Our community should not timidly avoid self-examination; we
should realize that we have not adequately taught the significance
of natural morality, as championed by Rav Kook, and internalize
the fact that those who disagree with us may still be decent people.
We should think critically about our language both as speakers
and as listeners. This mandates rejecting the loudmouth who
attempts to intimidate the opposition while spouting meaningless
rhetoric. As Onkelos explains: language is central to humanity’s
role in this world. To the degree that our discourse becomes more
soft-spoken and thoughtful, we will fulfill that role more successfully.
to read the essay (PDF 290KB).