"Then Moses and the Children of Israel sang this song..."--Exodus 15:1
Avraham Tirosh, a member of the Mafdal party (מפד"ל- מפלגת פועלי דתי לאומי) or the NRP (National Religious Party), recently wrote an article whose basic theme is love of all people, even enemies; equality of all people; and the sin of rejoicing over the death of our enemies. He begins, of course, with the usual partial quote from the Talmud (Megillah 10b) that when the angels sought to sing a song of praise as the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea, G-d said: "The work of My hands is drowning in the sea and you want to sing?"
Says Tirosh: "All who are created in the image of G-d, even the Egyptian, are G-d's work and thus we must relate to them. When a disaster occurs to ANYONE, EVEN if he is your ENEMY, EVEN if he seeks to DESTROY YOU--do not sing praise. Or, in the words of King Solomon (Proverbs 24:17), 'When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let your heart not be glad.'"
As always, the Tiroshes of the world selectively and very partially quote the Talmud. The selection he cites really begins with R. Yehoshua Ben Levi starting his lecture on Megillat Esther with the verse, "As the L-rd rejoiced over you to do you good, so the L-rd will rejoice over you to cause you to perish" (Deuteronomy 28:63). And the Talmud asks: Does the Almighty then rejoice over the fall of the wicked? And to prove that He does not rejoice, the story of the angels asking to sing praise is cited. And this is where Tirosh stops. BUT THERE IS MORE!
The Talmud continues as follows: "Rabbi Elazar said: It is true that HE does not rejoice, but He causes OTHERS TO REJOICE."
Ah, WHAT A DIFFERENCE! And a clear answer to the obvious question: If G-d does not want us to rejoice and praise Him when our enemy falls, why in the world does it say: "Then Moses and the Children of Israel sang this song to the L-rd..."? And a clear answer to why the Rabbis say (Mechilta, Beshalach 2:6): "Moses asked Israel: Will you stand and do NOTHING while the L-rd performs miracles and glories for you? Said Israel to Moses: What should we do? Said he to them: You will glorify and praise and give song and glory and greatness to the One to whom wars belong."
Of course, the Almighty, the totality of compassion, the father of all, grieves for His children--all of them. HE does not sing. His angels, who are not ofRabb this world, do not sing. but the JEWS DO! Not only are they ALLOWED TO, THEY ARE COMMANDED TO...Why? For the very same reason that the Almighty, though He does not sing, DOES destroy the work of His hands when it turns evil.
Yes, of course He grieves. He grieves at those who were made in His image have so perverted and destroyed the greatness of that image. But in His grief He does not have pity. He destroys. He knows that evil and He cannot share the same world, as our Rabbis say: "As long as the wicked rule in the world, the Holy One Blessed Be He, so to speak, cannot sit on His throne" (Yalkut, Tehillim 47).
And thus do the Rabbis declare (Shemot Rabba 23:1): "This is the meaning of the verse 'Your throne was firm from then (az אז)' (Psalms 93:2). Although You exist from time immemorial, Your throne was not made firm and You were not renowned in Your world until Your children sang...[W]hen we sang before You 'Az Yashir,' then (az אז ) Your kingdom and throne were made firm."
And that is why King David sings (Psalms 58:11-12): "The righteous one shall rejoice when he sees vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked." Why? Because only when we see the wicked punished, only when we see vengeance for their sins, do we have proof that G-d really exists and rules. And David continues by saying: "So that people shall say: There is, indeed, a reward for the righteous; there is, indeed, a G-d who judges on the earth."
And that is why the Rabbis tell us that "Moses yearned to see vengeance against the Midianites" (Bamidbar Rabba 22:5). Moses. Yearned. To see vengeance on the wicked. What shall we do with the fanatic Moses...?
The incredible perversion of Judaism by confused and guilt-ridden Jews, ignoramuses and learned alike! Our Rabbis tell us (Yalkut, Beshalach 241): "'And Israel saw the great hand of G-d' (Exodus 14:31). When the Almighty wished to drown the Egyptians, the Archangel of Egypt (Uza) said, 'Sovereign of the Universe! You are called just and righteous...why do You wish to drown the Egyptians?'...At that moment Gabriel rose, took a brick, and said, 'Sovereign of the Universe! These who enslaved Your children in such a terrible slavery as this, shall You have mercy on them?' Immediately, the Almighty drowned them."
And allow me to introduce two other Talmudic sayings: "The generation was one of tiny faith, saying, 'Just as we rose from the sea on this side, perhaps the Egyptians rose from the other side.' The Almighty ordered that the bodies be washed up and Israel saw them" (Pesachim 118b). And Midrash Tehillim (22:1) adds, "Each Jew took his dog and put his foot on the throat of a dead Egyptian and said to his dog, 'Eat of the hand that slaved me, eat of the heart that showed me no pity.'"
As for the tiresome perversion of the verse, "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice" (Proverbs 24:17), it is time that Tirosh went beyond a Biblical verse and learned that G-d gave us an Oral Law, a Talmud, that explains verses. Let him open the Talmud (Megillah 16a) which tells of Mordechai kicking Haman as the latter bent over to help him climb on his horse. Haman, too, in a startling echo of Tirosh, wails: "Does it not say in your Torah, 'When your enemy falls...'?" And Mordechai answers Haman, and Tirosh: "That applies to a Jew but concerning you the Torah states: 'And you shall trample upon their high places' (Deuteronomy 33:29)."
The Jewish Press, 1986