November 16, 2006

by Reb Yudel
The Ecstasy of Rage - Yossi Klein Halevi in Reform Judaism

Reform Judaism Magazine - The Ecstasy of Rage
As a boy growing up in a Holocaust survivor family, I raged at the whole world. The Holocaust was not just the responsibility of the murderers, but of the onlookers, too. And I saw my rage as being the most noble, the most spiritual part of me. I was soaring with righteousness when my anger was distilled to its purest form of rage. My spiritual struggle was to realize that sometimes the qualities that we think of as our best, our most spiritual, are actually our most self-destructive, the very qualities we need to overcome. We need to surrender these qualities in order to move on and become real servants of God. It took me years to learn this lesson.

After the bombing of the Shiite mosque in Samarra, I looked at the pictures--the faces of the Shiite demonstrators--and I saw an emotion that was very familiar to me: the ecstasy of rage.

This kind of rage is now directed against me and against my children. My first response is to do everything I can to push that rage as far away as possible. If it means building a wall, so be it. But at some point I'm going to have to engage that rage. And it's terrifying for me because I know that mentality from within. And I know that if someone had tried to reach me when I was a teenager caught up in my Holocaust rage, I don't think it would have been possible.

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