In Memoriam: Who Should Be Fighting Evil?

It is easy to turn to G-d with accusations when evil triumphs, but is it right?

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff
INN:GA

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" was said by Pres. John Kennedy in one of his speeches and attributed, as it often is, to Edmund Burke. It is one of the most highly quoted expressions in modern use.  

A song, a psalm of Asaph. O God, do not be silent;  do not hold aloof; do not be quiet, O God! For Your enemies rage, Your foes assert themselves. They plot craftily against Your people, take counsel against Your treasured ones. They say, “Let us wipe them out as a nation; Israel’s name will be mentioned no more.” (Psalms 83: 1-5)

This d’var Torah is for elui neshama, memory, of my brother, Dr. Sanford Aranoff, who passed away in Jerusalem and was buried 10/6/2015 in the cemetery in Mount Olives.

Unfortunately, it is also appropriate for Friday's terror victim in Israel, Danny Gonen.

The Lord said in reply to Job. - Shall one who should be disciplined complain against Shaddai? He who arraigns God must respond. Job said in reply to the Lord: See, I am of small worth; what can I answer You? I clap my hand to my mouth. I have spoken once, and will not reply; Twice, and will do so no more. Then the Lord replied to Job out of the tempest and said: Gird your loins like a man; I will ask, and you will inform Me. Would you impugn My justice? Would you condemn Me that you may be right? Have you an arm like God’s? Can you thunder with a voice like His? Deck yourself now with grandeur and eminence; Clothe yourself in glory and majesty. Scatter wide your raging anger; See every proud man and bring him low. See every proud man and humble him, And bring them down where they stand. Bury them all in the earth; Hide their faces in obscurity. Then even I would praise you For the triumph your right hand won you (Job 40:1-14).

The Malbim explains Job 40:1-14 so well.

God knows that Job still has complaints to Him.  God demands that Job respond.

Job says God answered his complaints of the undeserved and unwarranted punishments God did to him. Job sees that God does not abandon the righteous.  There’s another world where the righteous will be compensated for their sufferings. Thus Job claps his hand to his mouth.

Job had two complaints.  One, why the righteous are suffering.  On that Job got an answer, as above.  That’s not Job’s complaint now.  Two, the wicked prospering.  There are wicked destroying settlements and killing many people.  Why doesn’t God send these wicked away and destroy them?  On this Job wants an answer and then Job won’t ask again.

God is answering Job on the wicked prospering.

Gird your loins like a man; I will ask, and you will inform Me.

You [Job] ask for an answer why God allows haughty and mighty wicked to kill so many.  You [Job] should ask on all creation, animals etc that maim and kill, why God allows that?  But that’s a foolish question.  What, should God create only weak creatures that have no power over other creatures? It’s for God’s honor to create creatures, mighty, that can rule over creatures.  The many species and races do survive their enemies.  So too, mankind, mighty, even giants, with huge powers, will choose to use their strengths for bad against the poor and weak.  God watches and prepares, giving mankind intelligence and love of justice and other ways to block the haughty wicked.  God in his providence encourages the orphan and the widow and will trip up the wicked. For this reason God says Gird your loins like a man; I will ask, and you will inform Me.

Have you an arm like God’s? Can you thunder with a voice like His?

If you [Job] had My strengths and abilities, would you handle matters differently to show that I am not behaving properly?

Deck yourself now with grandeur and eminence; Clothe yourself in glory and majesty.

I’ll give you [Job] power and strength and glory and majesty like a god.

Scatter wide your raging anger; See every proud man and bring him low. See every proud man and humble him, And bring them down where they stand. Bury them all in the earth; Hide their faces in obscurity. Then even I would praise you For the triumph your right hand won you (Job 40:11-14).

God tells Job to bring low and humble every haughty and wicked person and bury them in the earth.

If you [Job] can do this I, too, would appreciate it, and I will call you God Creator.

I read into this God giving permission to fight the wicked. See every proud man and humble him, And bring them down where they stand. Bury them all in the earth; Hide their faces in obscurity.

More than just giving permission. We have an obligation to fight the wicked.  God gives us intelligence and strength to fight the wicked.  May we be worthy of success against our enemies, to bring them down, to bury them, and to hide their faces in obscurity.

Psalms 83:

A song, a psalm of Asaph. O God, do not be silent;  do not hold aloof; do not be quiet, O God! For Your enemies rage, Your foes assert themselves. They plot craftily against Your people, take counsel against Your treasured ones. They say, “Let us wipe them out as a nation; Israel’s name will be mentioned no more.” Unanimous in their counsel they have made an alliance against Youthe clans of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria too joins forces with them; they give support to the sons of Lot. Selah. Deal with them as You did with Midian, with Sisera, with Jabin, at the brook Kishonwho were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the field. Treat their great men like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, who said, “Let us take the meadows of God as our possession.” O my God, make them like thistledown, like stubble driven by the wind. As a fire burns a forest, as flames scorch the hills, pursue them with Your tempest, terrify them with Your storm. Cover their faces with shame so that they seek Your name, O Lord..  May they be frustrated and terrified, disgraced and doomed forever. May they know that Your name, Yours alone, is the Lord, supreme over all the earth.

The Malbim says on They say, “Let us wipe them out as a nation; Israel’s name will be mentioned no more.” They (the wicked nations) their main advice and objective--to cancel the name Israel since that name indicates direction from above nature, and in belief in God’s Oneness and in God’s providence over Israel and on the Torah and mitzvoth …

The Malbim says Psalms 83 refers to (2 Chronicles 20:14-24):

Then in the midst of the congregation the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah son of Benaiah son of Jeiel son of Mattaniah the Levite, of the sons of Asaph, and he said, “Give heed, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat; thus said the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed by this great multitude, for the battle is God’s, not yours. March down against them tomorrow as they come up by the Ascent of Ziz; you will find them at the end of the wadi in the direction of the wilderness of Jeruel. It is not for you to fight this battle; stand by, wait, and witness your deliverance by the Lord, O Judah and Jerusalem; do not fear or be dismayed; go forth to meet them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.’” Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem threw themselves down before the Lord to worship the Lord. Levites of the sons of Kohath and of the sons of Korah got up to extol the Lord God of Israel at the top of their voices. Early the next morning they arose and went forth to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Trust firmly in the Lord your God and you will stand firm; trust firmly in His prophets and you will succeed.” After taking counsel with the people, he stationed singers to the Lord extolling the One majestic in holiness as they went forth ahead of the vanguard, saying, “Praise the Lord, for His steadfast love is eternal.” As they began their joyous shouts and hymns,  the Lord set ambushes for the men of Amon, Moab, and the hill country of Seir, who were marching against Judah, and they were routed. The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the men of the hill country of Seir to exterminate and annihilate them. When they had made an end of the men of Seir, each helped to destroy his fellow. When Judah reached the lookout in the wilderness and looked for the multitude, they saw them lying on the ground as corpses; not one had survived (2 Chronicles 20:14-24).

May we be worthy today such miracles as God did for our forefathers.  May God cause our enemies to kill each other as in 2 Chronicles 20:23: The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the men of the hill country of Seir to exterminate and annihilate them. When they had made an end of the men of Seir, each helped to destroy his fellow.

Surely, today, in modern Israel, the answer is yes, to God’s questions to Job Have you an arm like God’s? Can you thunder with a voice like His?  The Ayotollas of Iran boast and swear to destroy us.  We have an obligation; See every proud man and bring him low. See every proud man and humble him, And bring them down where they stand. Bury them all in the earth; Hide their faces in obscurity.

Then God will thank us: Then even I would praise you For the triumph your right hand won you.





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