Assuming that God runs the world and that nothing happens by chance, what is the purpose of anti-semitism?

This has followed the jewish people since their inception in Egypt and is very much alive and kicking today.

  • 1
    Historically, antisemitism sparks up when we get "cozy" to foreign cultures either directly (see germany prewar, spain pre-expulsion, russia pre-communisism, Egyptian slavery, etc.) or indirectly (see TANACH). It seems that the neviim specifically talk about this (see last shabbos' haftorah) being a tool used by Hashem to keep us from straying too far "off the beaten path." May 28, 2015 at 14:21
  • I don't think anti Semitism has a usable "purpose", per se. I think that other nations were always envious of Jews morals and success, and it is human nature to blame others when you can't improve your own faults. That's the foundation of insult, and all forms of bias and it seeps itself into anti Semitism since it began thousands of years ago. Is your question based on a premise of asking why did G-d create hatred between some Gentiles and Jews? (I.e. - do you surmise that G-d created this purposely b/c there is a benefit to Jews by this?) If so, please edit your question.
    – DanF
    May 28, 2015 at 14:24
  • @IsaacKotlicky so you are saying it is to prevent assimilation
    – ray
    May 28, 2015 at 16:45
  • It's certainly an observable effect of antisemitism... I personally feel your question assumes a rather simplistic view of our ability to understand the world as a whole (that there is a "purpose" that we can fully grasp). Shlomo might have understood the majority of the mitzvot, but no one, not even Moshe Rabbeinu, could actually grasp the divine operation of the world as a whole, in which antisemitism plays a significant role. May 28, 2015 at 17:17
  • sinai was also called because it brought sinah. Although spelled with different letters.
    – cham
    May 28, 2015 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


Indeed Rashi (in Bereishis, 33, 4) brings Rashbi's saying that: "Halacha is that Esau hates Yaacov" and many a Peirush has been written on those words...

Antisemitism is in many cases viewed as a waking call for the Jews to return to the path of the Tora or else...

It is also sometimes viewed as a means of punishment after warnings have been ignored or after a great wrong doing An explicit example of that is Hadad HaEdomi which the Book of kings explicitely states : "וַיָּקֶם יְקוָק שָׂטָן לִשְׁלֹמֹה אֵת הֲדַד הָאֲדֹמִי מִזֶּרַע הַמֶּלֶךְ הוּא בֶּאֱדוֹם" (Melachim A, 11, 14). This shows that the lord can, at times decide to strengthen the enemies of Israel so much so that the Gemara in Sanhedrin (104, 2nd page) interperts the phrase in the Book of Lamentations (1, 5 - "היו צריה לראש ") thus: "any harasser to Yisrael becomes a ruler" ("אמר רבא אמר רבי יוחנן כל המיצר לישראל נעשה ראש"), and in the Gemara there is is clearly stated that it is a punishment for our deeds.

Also, you have referenced "their inception in Egypt" in the question - it's interesting to note the special Antisemitic activity around Pesach, which is a symbol of the formation of the nation of Israel

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