75 words for 75 years of Israel – Sinah/Hatred

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available now!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.

Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!

שִׂנאָה

SINAH

SIN-AH

HATRED

“She conceived again and bore a son, and declared, ‘This is because God heard that I was hated and has given me this one also’; so she named him Simon.” (Genesis 29:33)

ותהר עוד ותלד בן ותאמר כי שמע יהוה כי שנואה אנכי ויתן לי גם את זה ותקרא שמו שמעון.

“O you who love God, hate evil! He guards the lives of His loyal ones, saving them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalms 97:10)

אהבי יהוה שנאו רע שמר נפשות חסידיו מיד רשעים יצילם.

Sinah, Hebrew for “hatred,” stands in stark contrast to the Bible’s commandments to love God and to love one’s neighbor. According to the sages, Sinat hinam, “baseless hatred,” was the sin that led to the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans. They believed that the internal fighting among the Jews caused rifts within Judean society that physically and spiritually weakened the nation, ultimately leading to defeat and exile. The first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, taught that since baseless hatred was the cause of the nation’s destruction and exile, the only way to rebuild the nation and gather up the exiles of Israel is through ahavat hinam, “baseless” and unconditional love.

Sinah is linguistically related to the word Sinai, the mountain on which the nation of Israel received the Torah. When God gave His Bible to the people of Israel and selected them as His chosen nation, other nations became jealous of the Israelites and began to hate them. In the future, these nations will realize that by receiving God’s Torah and keeping its commandments, the people of Israel bring God’s blessings to the entire world. 

“O you who love God, hate evil!” (Psalms 97:10). King David tells us not to hate the people who commit evil acts, but rather to hate the evil that they do. All human beings can repent for their wrongdoings, turn away from their evil ways and return to God with an open heart.

The Israel Bible Team

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