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There are clear enemies of the Jewish people, and I assume that it's not our job to change their mind but to win. There are also people who are in the middle, who fall or are in danger of falling for the lies of our enemies, and that's the group I want to talk about.

How do we change their minds? If we even are meant to. What do the Torah sources say is our job regarding this? Should we change their mind by talking to them, putting forth arguments, use social media and the like? Or do we ignore them completely, and instead focus on our relationship with Hashem; Torah and mitzvot, teshuva and tefilla, being the ultimate source of our problems in the world?

Sometimes, it seems impossible, either because the lies they believe have produced a hate so impenetrable and a cynicism so mind-closing, that it boggles the mind, or these people are, or influence, policy makers and it rapidly goes way beyond our capabilities to do anything about it (seemingly). It doesn't help that Hashem has planned history so we have very little with which to prove empirically that we were taken out of Egypt, stood at Sinai and were chosen etc.

So, for the sake of our mental health, I think it would be good to have a solid answer to this, that also answers all the satellite questions:

  • If it's true that hatred of Jews is a supernatural force that is caused by our sins, then what is the ultimate destiny of non-Jews? Sure, there are going to be many who are righteous, and have a place in Olam Haba, but what about the rest? Are they really just NPCs? How do we integrate the fact that some of them hate us because we do indeed sin and they do indeed rightly oppose that?
  • If it's our responsibility to deal with changing the perceptions of non-Jews directly, then why is it so seemingly impossible, and what about all the strong sources that say the opposite? Is there any practical advice on how to do this? I have no idea what on earth I or anyone can do to fix Twitter/X, for example!
  • Do we presume this is the end of days (as we have for 500+ years now), and how does that modify the answer?

tl;dr How do we change the minds of our haters (if we even are supposed to, but if not, what is our response)? Satisfying, thorough answers are saught, that can be practically applied and can help us understand the big picture, as well as what we as individuals should do.

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  • IMHO caring about it is Hanifa
    – zunior
    Mar 21 at 13:08
  • @zunior I was raised to think similar, and havne't necessarily changed my mind, I would just like to hear the full version, now that I am a serious adult :)
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 21 at 13:27
  • 2
    The reason people care is because they think they're job is to be אור לגוים.
    – zunior
    Mar 21 at 13:52
  • See here with Rashi
    – b a
    Mar 21 at 14:13
  • @יהושעק I don't think so, as I am talking about the "middle group of people" here, and I don't think that question breaks things down like that
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Mar 21 at 15:27

1 Answer 1

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"It is a rule that Esau hates Jacob". (Sifri, cited in Rashi Genesis 33:4).

All we can do is be constantly on guard, ready to defend ourselves. Antisemitism is not rational. Especially given all the great Jewish contributions to the world. Perhaps because of all our great contributions. As the Jewish saying goes, "We anger God with our vices and men with our virtues."

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  • But the next words are: אלא נהפכו רחמיו באותה שעה ונשקו בכל לבו. Nor does it say that this is an irrational law of nature that nothing can be done about.
    – b a
    Mar 21 at 14:36
  • @ba "But the next words are: אלא נהפכו רחמיו באותה שעה ונשקו בכל לבו." There, "באותה שעה" could mean "for that moment", and not a permanent change in his attitude (let alone a revelation of his true nature). Also, others say "שלא נשקו בכל לבו" (emphasis mine).
    – Tamir Evan
    Mar 22 at 9:08
  • @TamirEvan That's right. I disputed the implication that the "rule that Esau hates Jacob" means there is nothing Jews can do except be ready to defend themselves. Jacob did something and it was effective (and according to the opinion who states the "rule" it was even wholehearted, although as you noted there is a different opinion who disputes this)
    – b a
    Mar 22 at 13:24

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