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Slanderers and Hereetics

In the Shemoneh Esrei prayers, there is one section against heritics.  "...and may all the heretics perish in an instant...may all the enemies of your people be cut down speedily...smash and cut down wanton sinners etc....


I just don't have any emotion for this part of the Shemoneh Esrei.  It's violent and it doesn't allow for people who want to sin or not follow the Torah to do their thing and let them suffer their punishment in the world to come.  I don't want to ask Hashem to be an executioner.


How do you approach a prayer like this if you're not into violence?



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  • Do you then want those people who have an agenda against us to be successful?  This was and still is a matter of national survival and was therefore added to the communal row of the cure column, a communal form of "Heal us Hashem..." in the previous (personal) row.


    Let those people who slander us have no hope.  Cut off the disease of the Minim (Jews-for-J) from us.  May all those who hate the Jews be cast aside.  And may the wicked kingdom be destroyed.

  • A few suggestions, though I'll state at the outside that I see where you are coming from.

    First, the Ashkenazi nusach is to start velamalshinim, a specific type of Jewish person who would betray other Jews to the unfriendly gentile government.

    See here:

    This is not mere not following the Torah, but a real and present danger to Jews.


    Second, the prayer continues with "vechol harisha kerega toved", and all evilness will be destroyed in an instant. This is reminiscent of the famous disagreement between Rabbi Meir and his wife. This may be found in Berachot 10a:

    There was an outlaw living in the neighborhood of Rabbi Meir who used to persecute him. Rabbi Meir wanted to pray that he should die. “What are you thinking?” his wife Bruria asked. “Because it is written, ‘and all the wickedness shall be consumed from the earth’ (Psalms 104:35). Is it written ‘wicked’? The word ‘wickedness’ is written. Furthermore, look at the end of the verse, ‘and the evil-doers will be no more.’ Since wickedness will cease, then evildoers will be no more. You should pray that he repent.” Rabbi Meir prayed for him, and he repented.

    This is chataim vs chot'im. Indeed, see the footnotes on the bottom in siddur I linked to, where he says this explicitly.


    Yet, surely there is room for wishing for the demise of the wicked. We are lucky to live in a world, and country, with little oppression. But there are very wicked people out there, who won't repent, and who will do the innocent harm, in a bein adam lachaveiro sense rather than bein adam lamakom. And someone who is merciful to the wicked ends up being cruel to the innocent.  E.g., "Don't lock up that rapist, because that would be punishing him and causing him to suffer!"


    Hope this helps,


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