Trying to Understand Anti-Semitism


Following the horrific massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh during Shabbat prayers by an anti-Semite, I was wondering why is there anti-Semitism?



  1. The short and honest answer: I don’t know and I don’t know anybody who really does.

    However, I can share an idea from our Sages that might help give even a narrow perspective.

    Amalek was the illegitimate son of Elifaz, and the grandson of Esau. The progeny of Amalek are the archetypal enemy of the Jewish People. Their very existence is diametrically opposed to the Torah. Our Sages describe the people of Amalek as being the essence of all the evil in the world.

    Today, we don’t know who is descended from Amalek. Around the year 600 BCE, the Assyrian conqueror Sancheriv exiled most of the world’s inhabitants from their homelands and scattered them around the world. Since then, the true national identity of any people (except for the Jewish Nation) has become obscure.

    The concept of “Amalek” can be helpful in understand the baffling phenomenon of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism has no sociological parallel. Even the word is unique: “Anti-Semitism” is the only English word describing hate towards a distinct group of people. There’s no English word for French-hatred, Irish-hatred, or German hatred, even though England fought bitter wars against all these nations.

    We are the only people in the world towards whom there exists a unique, distinct hatred. This bears out the Torah’s prediction that until the Mashiach’s days, there will exist a nation, Amalek, with an unexplainable, inborn hatred towards us.

    Best wishes from the Team