Blog Post


Parshat Toldot: Losers Hate Winners

Losers hate Winners. Always have, always will. Ever since the dawn of Mankind with the first siblings, Cain and Abel, all the way to today’s conflict of Israel versus Hamas and their supporters, Losers hate Winners. 

Early on in the Torah, Cain and Abel both bring offerings to God. But only one is accepted, the other is rejected. Abel brought the best and the first of his animals so it was accepted. Cain didn’t bring the best of his crops so it was rejected. Why? God wanted to show Cain that if he is serious about having a relationship with God and showing Him thanks, he had to go all-in and not bring his second best. But despite God advising and showing Cain that he can rectify matters, bear the past failure and move on by improving, Cain doesn’t listen. Instead he takes his anger, his depression, his loathing (perhaps self-loathing?) and his failure out on his brother, Abel… and kills him.

From the beginning of time, Losers cannot accept the consequences of their choices. They refuse to look inside themselves and ask why they didn’t succeed and then work to change and improve so that next time they will. No, instead they look at the Winner as having some sort of unjust advantage, hate him for it, and if need be, do away with him rather than face the sad reality of their own failure. 

But one cannot run away from failure by eliminating the successful party. Even though Cain makes a lame attempt to elude responsibility of murder with his indifferent, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God emphatically declares, “What have you done?! Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground!”

You cannot run away from your failures. You cannot hide by attempting to rid successful people or nations who shine a light on your lazy, misguided and perverse reasoning, justifications and rationalizations behind your inability to succeed. Their life-blood forever cries out to God, even from the grave if need be.  

This is what Cain did to Abel. It’s what Hamas did to Israel on October 7th. It’s what academics, university students, London protesters and many others try to do every day in their support for Hamas and denunciation of Israel. They try to kill the Winner.  

Losers hate Winners. It’s crucial in explaining the odd world reaction to Israel’s war on Hamas. One of the great perplexities of this conflict has been the global response by many. Israel, the victim of a horrendous unprovoked attack on its state and citizens is being branded the bad guys whilst the terrorists and those who voted them into office and who initiated this conflict are the good guys. How is one supposed to understand this topsy-turvy take on things where black is white and white is black?

Journalist Bari Weiss further helps us understand why Losers hate Winners in a recent talk. She’s not the only one who has noted these ideas, and explains that the Israel-Hamas War is part of “’the civilizational war we are in”. 

The social justice crowd – the crowd who has tried to convince us that words are violence – insisted that actual violence was actually a necessity. That the [sexual abuse] was resistance. That it was liberation. University presidents – who leapt to issue morally lucid condemnations of George Floyd’s killing or Putin’s war on Ukraine – offered silence or mealy-mouthed pablum about how the situation is tragic and ‘complex’ and how we need to think of ‘both sides’ as if there is some kind of equivalence between innocent civilians and jihadists. 

But the most alarming of all were the young people who threw their support not behind the innocent victims of Hamas terrorism, but behind Hamas. The easy answer is that the human beings who were slaughtered on October 7 were Jews and that antisemitism is the world’s oldest hatred. But that is not the whole answer. Because the proliferation of antisemitism, as always, is a symptom.

She goes on to explain that behind the basic Jew-hatred is a larger issue. That the real issue is a recent popular world-view where the basic ideas of Good versus Evil are being replaced with a new rubric: The Powerless and hence Good, versus The Powerful and hence Bad. 

People are to be given authority in this new order not in recognition of their gifts, hard work, accomplishments, or contributions to society, but in inverse proportion to the disadvantages their group has suffered. 

And here is the problem that this perverse viewpoint creates for Jews: 

Jewish people account for two percent of the U.S. population, but their success, under the new ideology, suggests not talent or hard work, but unearned privilege. (It is a) hateful portrait of a small group of Jews divvying up the ill-gotten spoils of an exploited world. 

(Hence) they see Israelis and Jews as powerful and successful and ‘colonizers,’ so they are bad; Hamas is weak and coded as people of color, so they are good. No, it doesn’t matter that most Israelis are ‘people of color.’ That baby? He is a colonizer first and a baby second. That woman [sexually assaulted] to death? Shame it had to come to that, but she is a white oppressor.

There you have it. Israel and Jews succeed. We work hard, we play fair, we look out for one another, we think outside of the box, we innovate, we create a nation that has surpassed all its neighbors in its short 75 years of being. We move on from persecutions, Holocausts and ethnic cleansings from Arab lands to start over and succeed. We don’t play the victim card. So yes, we succeed and thereby become powerful. But none of this counts in the eyes of the Losers of the world who aren’t willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to succeed. 

So like Cain, they try to eliminate the source of their Loserness. They try to kill Abel. 

But you cannot kill Abel. Because ultimately Abel’s blood cries out from the ground. It cries out and exposes the injustice and hypocrisy and evil of Cain. It cries out in the form of ultimate success for Abel. It cries out in the fact that the Jews have long outlived all the Cains that came along in our long history to do away with us. It cries out in the IDF who are systematically destroying the evil of Hamas, and no amount of Cain’s pleas for cease-fire from the UN will stop that momentum.

Losers hate Winners. Losers try to eliminate Winners. Losers want to murder Winners. But they don’t ultimately succeed. Never have, never will. Make sure you’re on the right team which I suspect you probably are. So more importantly, make sure the world knows which is the right team. This week’s march on Washington was a powerful step in that direction. But that is just a first step. Let’s keep it going. 

We don’t need no haters
We’re just trying to love one another
We just want y’all to have a good time
No more drama in your life
Work real hard to make a dime
If you got beef, your problem, not mine
-Mary J. Blige

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