While I was thinking through my dissertation, Robert Gimello suggested I read an intriguing article in the conservative journal First Things by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, entitled The Virtue of Hate – I think because Soloveichik’s views are in some respects the polar opposite of Śāntideva’s. Soloveichik makes the provocative suggestion that a key difference between Jewish and Christian traditions is their attitude toward hatred: contrary to the Christian advocacy of forgiveness, some people – those, like the Nazis, who have committed truly heinous crimes – genuinely deserve our hate. For Soloveichik, even the sincerest of repentance cannot wash away a serious crime.
I don’t know enough about Judaism to say how pervasive Soloveichik’s approach is in the tradition, or enough about the Tanakh to know how much it pervades there. But I find his view intriguing for a number of reasons, even if it is little more than Soloveichik’s own idiosyncrasy. First among these is the afterlife; for when I read Soloveichik’s article on this subject, I found it made me consider myself significantly more Buddhist. Continue reading