Let My People Know

"Evil Must Be Fought"

In July of 2005, a series of coordinated explosions in London, England killed 56 people including four suicide bombers. Over 700 people were injured.

Now known as the 7/7 Bombings, it was the largest and deadliest terrorist attack on London in its history.

Prompted by this event, Rabbi Steinsaltz offered the following statement. Though it was a response to the horrible event in London, its message is timeless:

Evil Must Be Fought

By Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

In our world, which is so full of information of every possible kind – especially about lesser and inferior things (which is what sells newspapers and brings high ratings to TV shows) – it should have been natural for people to be well aware of the existence of evil.

Nevertheless, it seems that oddly enough, people still do not really know that evil, as a force with an existence and a power of its own, actually exists.

In terms of world-view, it seems that the Victorian way of thinking still very much shapes people’s consciousness: everyone surely knows that here and there, there are distorted and wicked human beings; but they are seen as oddities that are not part of real life.

What recently happened in London should bring about a fundamental change in our way of seeing the world. There really is evil in the world. It has its own ideology and organizations. It exists not only somewhere far away, but here, so very close to everyone’s daily life.

This ideology is not necessarily connected to people of a particular religion, color, race or creed. It belongs to those who allow evil to control them to such an extent that human life has lost all value in their eyes. Their plan (or rather, that of their leaders) crushes and kills men and women, old and young, guilty and innocent alike.

Although people are hurt by the activities of this evil, there still exists a desire to find some justification for it. People try to explain evil away, especially when it relates to others. They speak about national uprising, poverty and illiteracy, about unbridled incitement.

No doubt, all these things do exist. They do not, by any means, however, justify evil, or even furnish a valid explanation for it. This sort of evil is not spontaneous. Rather, it is planned and controlled by cold-blooded people who have no compunctions about killing their victims, as well as their messengers.

These leaders of evil do not operate alone. They are assisted by the innocent, the indifferent, and the foolish.

The innocents are those who can find, or even invent, justifications and explanations for everything.

The indifferent are those who are not moved by disasters that happen to other people, in other lands.

The foolish are those who think they have a safe way of escaping disaster.

We must see reality as it is: there is evil, wickedness and cruelty in this world. We can and must persecute them down to their most primary sources. It is possible to fight and, through an extended, concentrated effort, also to eradicate them. In any case, we must remember that there are things in this world that decent human beings must fight and annihilate.