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Kinah 6-Revenge

“Repay them, as when You showed Your face to us.”


“Drive them

into the nether world.”


“Cast them into hell-fire.”

“Summon them to sip your secret cup of poison.” (Kinah 6)

I understand the desperate need for us to witness Divine Justice against our enemies, but the desire for revenge is dangerous, and it is forbidden for us to take revenge. (See, “Planning My Revenge,” “Purim-Vengeance,” “Vengeance & Suffering,” “Where Is Justice,” and “Years Of Life.”) Is there more to this cry for Divine Justice than simple revenge?

“Awake, awake!
 Rise up, Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of God 
the cup of His wrath, you who have drained to its dregs 
the goblet that makes people stagger.

Among all the children she bore 
there was none to guide her;
 among all the children she reared 
there was none to take her by the hand.

These double calamities have come upon you—
who can comfort you? — 
Ruin and destruction, famine and sword—
who can console you? (Isaiah 51:17-19).”

Rashi comments, “Who can comfort you by pointing out that your enemies have suffered as have you.” He is teaching us that seeing our enemies suffer is part of comforting!

Perhaps we can relate this to Rabbeinu Yonah (“It’s A Two-Way Street”), who teaches that our prayer for Justice is a way of saying to God that we need to witness His Justice in order to continue to observe His commandments. We need to feel that what we do matters to Him; not just believe, but actually see it with our own eyes.

Witnessing Divine Justice will add meaning to our observances and prayer. That is the true comfort and consolation. Perhaps we will then learn how to Live As Forgivers.

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