If a Jew spent his entire life doing terrible sins, would God still love him? For example, does God love Jesus or Jews who have caused similarly terrible damage? Please provide sources.

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    Malachi 1:3, “Esau I hated.”
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 5:33
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    What does it mean that He would "still love him"?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 14:30
  • Being that it is a mitzvah to hate Reshoyim I can't believe that Hashem loves them. However I'm sure Hashem doesn't maliciously hate them. He still loves them in the sense of wanting them to do Teshuva and the best for them.
    – Schmerel
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 16:27
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    I'll have to look it up when I get home, but I believe it's the Parparaos L'Chochmah on Likutei Moharan 282 that says that even if a person is a complete rasha they can still find solace in the fact that they are a Jew and that Hashem loves them for no other reason than that.
    – Yehuda
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 18:50
  • @Schmerel Can He not hate them and love them? and: Isn't it also a Mitzva to honor one's parents?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 21:12

3 Answers 3


Kiddushin 36a

'A baraita: The verse: “You are the sons to the Lord your God,” indicates that when you act like sons and cleave to the Holy One, Blessed be He, you are called sons, but when you do not act like sons you are not called sons. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. Rabbi Meir says: Either way you are still called sons, as it is stated: “They are foolish sons” (Jeremiah 4:22). It also states: “Sons in whom there is no faithfulness” (Deuteronomy 32:20). And it states: “A seed of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly” (Isaiah 1:4). And it states: “And it shall come to pass that, instead of what was said to them: You are not My people, it shall be said to them: Sons of the living God” (Hosea 2:1). The Gemara asks: Why is it necessary to cite these additional proofs? If you would say: Granted, when they are foolish they are still called sons, as the verse states: “Foolish sons,” but when they do not have faithfulness they are not called sons; therefore, come and hear another verse. And that verse states: “Sons in whom there is no faithfulness.” יAnd if you would say: It is when they do not have faithfulness that they are called sons, as stated, but when they worship idols they are not called sons anymore; therefore, come and hear: And the verse states: “A seed of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly,” which alludes to the corruption of idol worship. And if you would say that although they are called “sons who deal corruptly,” they are no longer called full-fledged sons of God once they have sinned, come and hear: And the verse states: “And it shall come to pass that, instead of what was said to them: You are not My people, it shall be said to them: Sons of the living God.”'

There are different levels: very very different. But in the end we are all his children כביכול. How do you feel about your son? It depends on what he's done, of course. But in the end he is your son, and that means a lot.

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    וְיָדַעְתָּ֖ עִם־לְבָבֶ֑ךָ כִּ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יְיַסֵּ֥ר אִישׁ֙ אֶת־בְּנ֔וֹ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ מְיַסְּרֶֽךָּ׃ (Deut 8:5, MT)
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 10:16
  • That's אלה הדברים
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 9, 2021 at 0:47

Well a word like "Love" when applied to Hashem has to be understood only as a metaphor. So, I would recast your question as: Does Hashem act toward sinners in a manner intended for us to experience as loving?

In the beraisa that is included volumes of Mishnah Pireqi Avos 6:1, Rabbi Meir lists some of the titles one gains by learning torah lishmah, Torah for its [proper] sake. Among them, three involving love -- "אָהוּב, אוֹהֵב אֶת הַמָּקוֹם, אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת -- beloved, loves the Omnipresent, loves human beings".

On that third one, "אוֹהֵב אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת -- loves human beings", the Tif'eres Yisrael writes:

לא לבד לאדם מיוחד, אלא אפילו אותן המקולקלין במדות, או בחטאים שאין לאוהבן רק מדהן בריות של הקב"ה:

Not only the distinguished person, but also those who are defective in Middos, or sinners who aren't to be lived except for their being creations of HQBH.

Even as we hate the fact that someone is a sinner, we are still supposed to love everyone G-d created, sinner or someone of higher aspirations, Jew or non-Jew.

Another example. Normally if one is faced with two mitzvos -- helping someone load their animal or helping someone unload their animal, a person must prioritize unloading. It is the more compassionate choice for the animals. But, if the person loading the animal is your enemy, then helping your enemy load the animal comes first. So as to "conquer your yeitzer hara".

Tosafos (Bava Metzia 32b) ask: Enemy? What kind of enemy? Aren't we prohibited to hate other Jews? He points out that we are supposed to feel hatred toward the sinner. So then why would we want to help the hated sinner so as to conquer our hatred of them?

They answer that not helping the person with their animal will inflame their hatred. And their hatred might inflame your hatred in response. While it is okay to hate a sinner for being a sinner, adding personal hatred on top of that is prohibited.

Now that's people. In addition, Hashem knows the sinner's background and motive, how the person got to this lowly state. This is what He expects us, with our ignorant about what goes on the minds of others -- to love every person (again, not just Jews) even while simultaneously feeling hatred toward those who sin.

I would expect so does He. Figuratively speaking.

  • On the contrary, משם ראיה - it says נִקְרָא רֵעַ, אָהוּב implying that it's something that you have to earn by being among the כָּל הָעוֹסֵק בַּתּוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ, not an unconditional love
    – b a
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 22:11
  • Ahuv yes... But the TY is commenting on "oheiv es haverios". Someone who learns Torah lishmah loves the berios -- and apparently, the TY includes even sinners and people with horrible middos. Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 23:12
  • I think this misses the point. Of course Hashem still acts with love to most sinners. The question is about an extremist lihachis.
    – Mordechai
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 23:24
  • @Mordechai, the Tif'eres Yisrael's comment says that being a beryah of HQBH is sufficient to merit ahavah. Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 2:00
  • @ Micha Berger, you write "to love every person (again, not just Jews) even while simultaneously feeling hatred toward those who sin". Tanya in chapter 32 explains and expands this concept (love/hate in relation to Jews) worthwhile to check it out..
    – user16403
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 5:45

Hi I completely second MichoelR's answer and nothing further needs to be said, but I will say it anyway because I enjoy this topic, feel I have some small level of mastery on it and would like to attempt a further explanation of what he said, if I may.

Towards the end of Devarim Hashem enumerates all our upcoming failures and subsequent punishments. However the final conclusion is not "and I will destroy you and get rid of you", but rather "but we are stuck together forever".

What is this? Hashem has ultimately wrapped Himself up with His people, Israel. He's never ever going to leave, no matter what. I guess, kveyachol, He is a hopeless romantic.

So we need to know, what is love? It actually has two meanings in common use (both in Torah and in English). This confuses us and by understanding it we can understand what DoubleAA (I believe) was getting at in their comment about why can't Hashem both love and hate us?

The first meaning is of love as an emotion. A strong positive feeling of desiring closeness with another. According to Kabbalah this comes in 5 flavours corresponding to the five fingers of the right hand. If anyone wants to know about this please ask. Feelings are responses, volatile and dynamic. They come and go. Therefore, one would not expect anyone to love someone else unconditionally. In fact, it has been said that claiming to love someone unconditionally is cruel. I'll explain why once I finish discussing the other meaning of love.

The other meaning of love is in the sense of oneness. Other words come to mind: belonging, home, intimate... This is actually way more powerful and important. In fact, oneness is what Hashem is all about - this is the highest. As we explained above, in this sense, Hashem's love is unconditional. By being one with us unconditionally, as a result of this, He loves us in the other sense, as well as every other emotion, so to speak. We are now so important and connected to Him that He will even get angry at us, hate us, and sometimes lose His loving feelings towards us if we cause Him to respond that way by our behaviour...

Therefore, in the other sense, if He were to say He loves us unconditionally, it would mean He no longer responds to us at all, a terrible thing that we should not wish upon anyone. It would mean, chas veshalom, we no longer dwell in His House, we are no longer His and He is no longer ours. If a parent tells a child he loves him unconditionally, he is taking a risk in making the child feel that the parent doesn't really care about him. The child doesn't matter to the parent; as the child doesn't produce a response in the parent anymore, nothing the child does matters.

I hope that makes sense. I am on my phone right now, so I'll bli neder bring a few sources later, although MichoelR's source suffices

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