The Rav spoke tonight about rejoicing at the downfall of our enemies as a way of achieving awareness of Hashem. But how do we understand the possuk בנפל אויבך אל תשמח, that when your enemy falls you shouldn’t be happy?
Rabbi Chamoula is asking a good question. It says בנפל אויבך אל תשמח – When your enemy falls do not be happy, ובכשלו אל יגל לבך – and when he stumbles your heart should not rejoice (24:17).
Your enemy in this possuk means your fellow Jew who has a bargain store across the street from you; he’s your competitor – that’s the enemy it’s talking about in this possuk. If he makes a mistake and buys merchandise which he cannot sell, don’t rejoice. The enemy also means the yeshiva man sitting across the aisle from you who is banging on his shtender and he’s saying pilpulim and you’re a quiet fellow who can’t make such a good show in the beis hamedrash. The enemy also means the man who finally married the girl who you wanted to marry. The enemy means the man in the shul who is being elected president instead of you. And suppose a man is sent to the amud by the gabbai to daven when you wanted to get the amud, and at the amud he makes a big mistake, don’t rejoice in his error. If your fellow yeshiva man makes an errror while saying a dvar Torah don’t rejoice. Don’t rejoice in that type of enemy’s discomfiture.
But if the enemy is let’s say a wild man and he’s chasing you with a knife, and his intentions are as clear as could be; and as he’s running he trips and falls down. And to make it even better he falls on the end of the knife – the pointed end. And so, if you’ll jump up and down and you’ll yelp for glee, you’re doing nothing more than you’re expected to do. The possuk doesn’t apply to that. It doesn’t refer to resha’im gemurim, because there’s no question that it’s a mitzvah to rejoice at the downfall of the reshaim.
And not only to rejoice. If you were able to not only rejoice in this man’s downfall but you were able to knock him down yourself, and you yourself could put the dagger through him, it would be a big mitzvah. You’re saying you shouldn’t rejoice?! You should even put the dagger through him yourself! What’s the question about rejoicing there?! You have to know like we say in Yiddish: Vu ein vu ois – you have to know when to apply things. Just to make a blanket injunction and say don’t rejoice?! When Hitler took poison you shouldn’t rejoice?! When Haman was executed you shouldn’t rejoice?!
TAPE # 26