The Torah relates how when the Children of Israel would break camp to embark on their travels through the desert, Moses would proclaim: "Arise, O G‑d, scatter Your opponents, and make Your enemies flee from before You..."1

The Roman emperor Hadrian was an incurable Jew-hater. Once, while walking in state, visiting his subjects, he observed a Jewish man among the crowd of well-wishers; "What, an accursed Jew insults my Majesty by greeting me in public? Take him away and crucify him!"

Word of Hadrian's despotic action quickly got around, and the next time Hadrian went touring, a Jew who was unlucky enough to be in the vicinity made sure to keep away from the crowd, utter no words of greeting, and remain crouched by the wayside in an attitude of total submission.

"What, an accursed Jew insults my Majesty by ignoring me in public? Crucify him!" cried the emperor.

When the emperor's counselors wondered about the blatant inconsistency of his actions, Hadrian replied, "Don't teach me how to deal with my enemies."

But were the Jews really his enemy? Could a mere people have elicited such bottomless hatred? It is significant that, in the above-cited verse, Moses does not call upon G‑d to defend us against those who are hostile to us, but to "scatter Your opponents... Your enemies."

The age-old struggle between Jew and Jew-hater is a misnomer. I remember, visiting the Nazi death-camp Dachau, how infuriating it was to see at the crematoria the large placard dedicating the site "to those who died in the fight against Nazism." The memorial might be somewhat appropriate for the political opponents of the regime who suffered and died there, but my grandfather's uncle, cousins and thousands of other martyrs didn't die fighting anything. Far as they were concerned, they were happy to lead private lives before Hitler and his henchmen came looking for them. To term it a "struggle" between innocent victim and executioner is as inappropriate as describing modern-day society's effort to protect themselves from suicide bombers a "cycle of violence."

The struggle is not between our enemies and ourselves. Rather G‑d's antagonists attack us as the pawns in their battle against righteousness and G‑dliness. Jew-hatred is so engrained and pervasive that no logical or rational explanation for the phenomenon can possibly be attached, other than to define it as the wicked man's eternal struggle against Divinity.

If they're not fighting us but fighting G‑d, our only viable response is to live and act like Jews no matter the provocation. When it becomes apparent that their hatred towards us is predicated on our special relationship with G‑d, then it becomes G‑d's responsibility to defend Himself from His opponents and enemies and come to our rescue, freeing us to resume our historic mission of representing G‑dliness to the world.