Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Purim Massacre

(A re-post from last year)

Download this as a PDF here

In the victorious conclusion of Megillat Esther, we find that after Haman’s decree against the Jewish People is revoked, and they are spared from destruction, they do not leave matters at that. Instead, having obtained royal permission to strike their enemies, including women and children, the Jews kill over seventy-five thousand people! Esther then further seeks permission for another day of massacre.

This episode provided excellent fodder for Christian antisemitic sentiments. The nineteenth-century German biblical scholar Friedrich Bleek concluded that “We may, therefore, with truth, maintain that a very narrow-minded and Jewish spirit of revenge and persecution prevails in the book, and that no other book of the Old Testament is so far removed as this is from the spirit of the Gospel.”[1] Over in America, the leading church pastor Washington Gladden described it as “a fiendish outbreak of fanatical cruelty… The fact that the story was told, and that it gained great popularity among the Jews, and by some of those in later ages came to be regarded as one of the most sacred books of their canon is, however, a revelation to us of the extent to which the most baleful and horrible passions may be cherished in the name of religion… Let it remain as a dark background on which the Christian morality may stand forth resplendent; as a striking example of the kind of ideas which Christians ought not to entertain, and of the kind of feelings which they ought not to cherish.”[2] Countless other such expressions of disgust by Christian scholars have been documented by Elliott Horowitz.[3]

However, if we carefully study the account in the Book of Esther and consider the situation, a very different picture emerges. Let us first examine the crucial verse in which the Jews are granted license for the massacre:
By these the king authorized the Jews who were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate, any armed force of any people or province that would attack them, little children and women, and to plunder their goods (Esther 8:11)

There are several significant points to be noted here. One is that they were being given permission to attack those that might attack them. Contrary to Bleek’s description of the massacre being an act of revenge, it is presented instead as precautionary self-defense. Rabbi Mordechai Ventura notes that “these people that they killed in Shushan were haters of Israel, who would always tell the Jewish People that they were going to kill them and smite their young.”[4] In other words, while there was a reprieve from Haman’s plan, there was no guarantee that such a danger would not arise again. There was an ever-present danger of antisemites gaining permission to engage in wanton slaughter of Jews. Had Haman’s decree not been rescinded, there is no doubt that these antisemites would have gladly taken the opportunity to slaughter all the Jews! Since the Jews were given a unique chance to attack their enemies, it was appropriate to take the opportunity to kill those people who would undoubtedly take the opportunity to kill them if such an opportunity would ever arise.

Furthermore, it may even be the case that this was the only way to actually rescind the decree – in 8:3 Achashverosh points that an edict sealed with the king’s signet ring may not be revoked. Thus, Haman’s decree could not be revoked, only circumvented – by authorizing the advance killing of those who would fulfill Haman’s decree.

What about with regard to the women and children? There are several possibilities to be considered here. One is that we should not make the mistake of judging actions of millennia ago by the moral barometers of today. In times of old, women and children were always considered to be extensions of the husband. This was not some Jewish innovation; it was the standard model in the ancient world. And it was not only the perception of reality; it was reality, as women were far less independent. Killing your enemies did not mean the adult males; it always included their families. While this answer may not be emotionally satisfactory from a contemporary perspective, it cannot be ruled out. But there are alternatives.

Another approach is that this case may be considered not as a battle between two groups of individuals, but rather as one between two nations: Jews and Amalekites (using the term Amalekite not in the technical sense of someone genetically descended from the tribe of Amalek, but instead in the sense of someone fundamentally identifying with a certain worldview of Judeopathy (pathological hatred of Jews) which is Alan Dershowitz’s preferred term for antisemitism.[5]) It is safe to assume that the families of these men who would have killed the Jews were themselves quite supportive of this ideology. And even those children too young to form an opinion, are part of the same social group. It is thus no different from the Torah’s instruction to wipe out the nations of Amalek and the Seven Nations of Canaan. Maharal uses the notion of “war between nations” to justify Shimon and Levi’s slaughter of the community of Shechem.[6] That justification is disputed by many, since Shechem was a single individual. But in this case, where we are talking about the family members of a group united in a single cause, there is more justification for seeing it as a war between two peoples.

Paul Haupt argues that the permission to kill women and children was only applicable to those women and children that desired to attack the Jews.[7] It does not seem especially likely, however, that children (the word probably describes very young children) could have posed a serious threat.

Robert Gordis presents an extraordinarily original interpretation of the verses, according to which the Jews did not take on the task of killing the women and children and were never instructed to do so. He explains the phrase “women and children” as referring to the Jewish women and children that the enemies of the Jews wished to kill, reading the verse as follows: “the king authorized the Jews… to destroy, to slay, and to annihilate, any armed force of any people or province that would attack them, their children and women, and that would plunder their goods.”[8] Whether this is a linguistically sound interpretation is unclear.

Another proposal is that the license to kill women and children has to be considered in light of the fact that it mirrors the original edict by Haman:
And the letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. (Esther 3:13)

This is taken by some to mean that it was considered a legitimately symmetrical counter-response to the original decree, according to ancient norms;[9] but it may instead mean that Mordechai, who composed the new decree, wished to publicize a strong deterrence for the Jews’ enemies and to highlight the measure-for-measure reversal that had transpired.[10] Along these lines, it is pointed out by some that is that even though the killing of the women and children was authorized, it is by no means clear that it actually took place. Rabbi David Nativ argues that the only mention of it is in the decree that authorized this action. Yet in that same decree, it states that the Jews were permitted to plunder the spoils. Now, the Book of Esther attests that this did not happen:
For the Jews who were in Shushan also gathered themselves together on the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and slew three hundred men at Shushan; but they did not lay their hand on the plunder. But the other Jews who were in the king's provinces gathered themselves together, and stood for their lives, and had rest from their enemies, and slew of their foes seventy five thousand, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder. (Esther 9:15-16)

We thus see that the Jews did not take advantage of everything that Achashverosh authorized. There is thus no evidence that the Jews actually did kill the women and children; all that Scripture attests to is that they killed their enemies.
Furthermore, the fact that the Jews did not plunder the spoils indicates that they did not see this as an ordinary battle of survival. Instead, they apparently perceived it as strictly self-defense and that they should not exceed this mandate. Thus, there is a case to be made for saying that they did not kill the women and children.[11]

NOTES

[1] Bleek, Introduction to the Old Testament, vol. 1 p. 450.
[2] Gladden, Who Wrote The Bible, p. 164.
[3] Horowitz, Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence: pp. 23-45.
[4] Ventura, Patshegen HaKetav to Esther 9:16.
[5] Dershowitz, Chutzpah, p. 121.
[6] Maharal, Gur Aryeh to Genesis 34:13.
[7] Haupt, “Critical Notes on the Book of Esther,” p. 63.
[8] Gordis, “Studies in the Esther Narrative,” p. 52.
[9] Levenson, Esther: A Commentary, p. 110-111.
[10] Moore, Esther, p. 83.
[11] Nativ, “The Historical Framework of Megillat Esther.” A similar explanation is provided by Rabbi Yonatan Grossman, “Indiscriminate Slaughter?” On the other hand, the fact that Scripture highlights the fact that they did not touch the spoils but makes no such mentioning of them not harming the women and children, may indicate that they did kill them.

Bibliography
Bleek, Friedrich. Introduction to the Old Testament, English translation by G.H. Venables, (London: Bell and Daldy 1869)
Dershowitz, Alan. Chutzpah (New York: Touchstone Books, 1992)
Gladden,Washington. Who Wrote The Bible (Kessinger Publishing 2003)
Gordis, Robert. “Studies in the Esther Narrative,” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 95, No. 1 (Mar., 1976), pp. 43-58
Grossman, Rabbi Yonatan. “Indiscriminate Slaughter?” Translated by Karen Fish, accessed online at http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/ester/22ester.htm
Haupt, Paul. “Critical Notes on the Book of Esther,” The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jan., 1908), pp. 97-186
Horowitz, Elliott S. Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (Princeton University Press, 2006)
Levenson, Jon D. Esther: A Commentary (Westminster John Knox Press 1997)
Moore, Carey A. Esther (Garden City, New York: Anchor Bible/ Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1971)
Nativ, Rabbi David. “The Historical Framework of Megillat Esther,” lecture at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Adar 5752 [1992], accessed online at www.vbm-torah.org/purim/­pur60-dn.htm
Ventura, Rabbi Mordechai. Patshegen HaKetav, in Mikraot Gedolot Urim Gedolim (Jerusalem: Even Yisrael Institute 1999)

57 comments:

  1. Fascinating post. I do have a larger question, though. Even if you look at the end of Esther as a war of self-defense, which seems pretty clear, how do you address the command to wipe out the seven tribes and the original tribe of Amalek? Is it possible for a nation to have an essence that is evil? And, on that topic, how do you see "chukim" in general, where we are told the rationale is beyond us? Is there any way to address this rationally, or is this the line where you must make that leap of faith essential to all religion?

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  2. re: killing women and children...you effectively say that murdering the household of the man was simply done back in those days. Then you say "While this answer may not be emotionally satisfactory from a contemporary perspective, it cannot be ruled out."

    I would love to hear you epand on this further. Should not the morality in the Torah be everlasting? How can those actions EVER be considered moral or appropriate, or allowed or COMANDED?!?!

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  3. I see no moral problem with symmetrically dishing out to our enemies in accordance with what they wish to dish out to us.

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  4. I read a p’shat somewhere (Ibn Ezra or Malbim, I think) that this was a face-saving measure by Achashverosh. He could claim that he had Haman executed “על אשר־שלח ידו ביהודיים”—i.e. claiming that Haman had altered the king’s edict and that this version was supposed to have been the original decree. This necessarily requires that the language be the same, except for the “detail” of who was being allowed to kill whom.

    And, as you noted, there is no indication that the Jews targeted women and children. (Although, since the text makes a point of “ובבזה לא שלחו את־ידם” and does not make a similarl claim regarding women & children, I would guess that at least some were killed.)

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  5. how do you address the command to wipe out the seven tribes and the original tribe of Amalek?

    That will have to be a topic for a future post.

    Is it possible for a nation to have an essence that is evil?

    It's not necessarily related to a notion of their having an "evil essence." I don't think Rambam viewed it that way.

    And, on that topic, how do you see "chukim" in general, where we are told the rationale is beyond us? Is there any way to address this rationally, or is this the line where you must make that leap of faith essential to all religion?

    Once you accept the existence of God, it's not a leap of faith to observe a chok, just like we obey medical instructions from a doctor even though we don't understand them. But in any case, acc. to Rambam, chukkim are not incomprehensible. See my post on this at http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2009/07/rambam-on-reasons-for-mitzvos.html

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  6. I'm with HaRazielli.

    The idea is that nations are collectively responsible. Some people nowadays think dropping the atom bomb during WWII was wrong, but to most people alive back then, it was obvious that there was a war between the American and Japanese peoples -- as collectives. It wasn't the army of America against the army of Japan and Germany, but rather America vs. Japan and Germany.

    The idea of collective guilt and reward and punishment is all over Tanach. Hashem often deals with people as members of larger units rather than individuals.

    (Even in our own interactions with other human beings, people often gain or suffer depending on what group or family they belong to.)

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  7. Rav Slifkin,

    I would draw your attention to a Dvar Torah by Menachem Liebtag (http://www.tanach.org/shmot/bshal2.htm) were he argues that the specific crime of Amalek was that they attacked the women and children, the sick and the infirm. Their very underhanded act of attacking those least able to defend themselves was what rendered them as not haing "yirat Elokim".

    One explanation for the wording of the Mordechai's letters was that they were intended to as faithfully as possible mimic Haman's original letters.

    Yossi

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  8. I think the fact that the verse says they did not lay hand on the spoils, but does not say that they did not kill the women and children, implies that in fact they did kill them.

    Personally, I always saw that the natural tendancy to not want to hurt women and children was a means to force restraint on those who might want to go to war. As in, if you go to war, remember that you will have the blood of innocent children on your hands, and not killing them isn't an option.

    A large part of me feels guilty for seeing strong parallels between this aspect of purim and recent events.

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  9. Should not the morality in the Torah be everlasting?

    Maybe we shouldn't impose our idea of morality on Torah. Perhaps it's teaching us that contrary to what you think, it is, in fact, NOT wrong to wipe out all of them down to the last infant. It's not "moral" either to allow the goel hadam to kill the killer of his relative, but it is allowed in halacha.

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  10. TO: Harazielli and Yehudah.

    I am sorry but you couldn’t be more wrong.

    Killing, even when justified, damages the killer. And in addition murdering innocent children is NEVER justified.

    Golda Meir said it addressing the Arabs(I don’t remember the exact wording, )

    We despise you, not so much because you kill our sons, but because you force us to make our sons kill you.

    BTW, do you also think the Geneva Convention (in its principles, at least) is foolish??

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  11. "BTW, do you also think the Geneva Convention (in its principles, at least) is foolish??"

    Are you asking if the geneva convention is foolish, or are you asking if it is foolish to follow the laws of the geneva convention while your enemies do not?

    As we saw in the war on Terror, the United states tries to argue that the Geneva convention "does not apply"

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  12. I was asking as a general principle, do these people believe that there is such a thing as morality in war.

    As for the GC itself, it likely can use some modifications.

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  13. Should not the morality in the Torah be everlasting?

    It is everlasting, but not its practical applications. That evolves in the spirit of Torah and human civilization.

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  14. All interesting points you are raising.

    Please elaborate on the linguistics of Robert Gordis

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  15. Btw - this post is a blueprint for why we lose to the arabs and the model we should be following in order to defeat them. Look at some of your answers in regards to reciprocity. In those days Jews (or at least Jewish generals?) Knew how to fight and win.

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  16. I have no moral qualm with the concept that one does to one's collective enemies what they would like to do to you.

    I love Purim!

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  17. In those days Jews (or at least Jewish generals?) Knew how to fight and win


    Yeap. This is why they were in exile and needed a miracle to save them.

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  18. HaRazieli, you don't have a problem with Ester being taken by Ahashverosh? All you see is the great victory? Student V, how about you? No feeling of national shame here? Wait! Are you actually celebrating the killing of the 75,000? What are you people celebrating?

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  19. "A large part of me feels guilty for seeing strong parallels between this aspect of purim and recent events. "

    I hope it doesn't discourage you if I commend your seeking consistency in your various beliefs.

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  20. "I hope it doesn't discourage you if I commend your seeking consistency in your various beliefs.

    March 17, 2011 4:01 AM
    "

    Would you say the same if I felt guilty because I'm not organizing a group of people to walk into PA controlled territories carrying large signs that says Israel is a Jewish Democracy and killing anyone who attacks us?

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  21. Elemir-Regarding the Geneva Conventions-since when are we required to tailor our morality to international conventions with which we may or may not agree with?

    Also, killing in and of itself is either moral or immoral depending on the context within which the killing takes place. When faced with a genocidal enemy-killing their civilians even in a pre-meditated fashion is not immoral.

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  22. ' When faced with a genocidal enemy-killing their civilians even in a pre-meditated fashion is not immoral.'

    So everybody becomes genocidal and we degenerate to the level of Liberia or Siera Leone? No Geneva Convention, no international law, no universal human rights just kol haalim gvar! Is this your own thinking or do you think this was G-d intend when he created the world?

    Here is food for thought for genocide enthusiasts and Purim generals. Hitler believed that his attack on the USSR was a preventive strike against an enemy bend on invading and destroying Germany. Had he treated the civilian population in compliance with the GC he might have won. Instead, he turned the whole population of the USSR and the world against Germany. Now compare this to the Israeli preventive strike in the Six Day war. The moral superiority is striking.

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  23. I think there is a tremendous irony that people who are attracted to a blog that aims for rational thought, suddenly lose the ability to think of things from outside of their perspective. Would Harazieli be ok with an Arab saying they have killed our kids so we will kill theres? Of course not, he would call it barbarism, as people did with what happened in Itamar? Is morality a one way street? Are you really willing to kill the enemy's babies or would you ust put that on those in tzahal as you pontificate on the net? The worst part is that you hide behind a name when you make these gross comments.

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  24. Carol, what you said made no sense. The jews were victorious in the Purim story. Everyone will always say it's a miracle when we win a war/battle. And at that time they had already been granted permission to return to eretz yisrael. However their status (exile or not) is besides the point. The purim story as told in the megilla represents sound military strategy which present day so called leaders of Israel cannot comprehend or even approach because of their idolatrous allegiance to a purity of arms doctrine they artificially created by themselves. They would not know sound strategy for VICTORY if it hit them in the head, and here are some basic priniciples outlined in our people's holy texts which no one bothers to pay any attention to.

    Are you claiming that in today's conflicts we don't need any miracles to help us? Could have fooled me since we keep losing and getting terrorized.

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  25. As to your other question, you're going to have to be more specific because I'm not sure if you were asking me the same question you asked razieli or something else. Am I ashamed of what exactly? The purim holiday? - no its something we have always celebrated. What are you asking?

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  26. Carol, if you are wondering why some of your comments aren't getting posted, please e-mail me and I will tell you.

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  27. Student V said:
    'The purim story as told in the megilla represents sound military strategy which present day so called leaders of Israel cannot comprehend or even approach because of their idolatrous allegiance to a purity of arms doctrine they artificially created by themselves.'

    Please spell out this strategy before I respond. Thank you.

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  28. >>>>> since when are we required to tailor our morality to international conventions with which we may or may not agree with?

    I wasn’t saying to adopt the GC verbatim. I was talking about its principles about morality in war.

    And, yes Judaism does adopt and adapt morality (if we see good in it) from the rest of the world, as much as many deny this.

    On the other hand, please note and accept this fact. That we DO NOT have our current morality from the Torah, we have it mostly from Chazal, with additional modifications over time.

    Chazal (consciously or not) found the Torah a bit too brutal and changed it.

    They indirectly abrogated the law of killing Amalek and killing the 7 nations. They said (except for a minority opinion) that the ben sore u’morer never happened and never will. the death penalty, in general, was done away with by making it impossible to implement, and likely will never be re-instated even if we had a sanhedrin.
    Similarly, for slavery.

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  29. Student V said:
    'Carol, what you said made no sense. The jews were victorious in the Purim story. Everyone will always say it's a miracle when we win a war/battle.'

    Not everyone. Neither Rambam, nor Satmar(kidding), nor I would say it. The king ALLOWED the Jews to defend themselves and attack their enemies after the decree of destruction had been annulled. Prior to the annulment the Jews were helpless. Where is the military miracle and why do you need one?

    The fact that Esther was taken by Ahashverosh should sadden every heart. What it illustrates is the duality of ANY war. Both sides suffer and in my mind 75,000 dead amalekites or whoever will not compensate for the suffering of Esther. Secular Western culture thinks in these terms and this is good. This is why it tries to resolve issues by compromise rather than conflict. This one of the secondary themes of Purim.

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  30. Carol you wrote: "where is the military miracle and why do you need one"

    Now you've really got me confused. I have no idea what you are saying. My original point had nothing to do with miracles- it was you who brought that up and I responded. Traditionally the Purim story is considered miraculous. You deny that?

    Originally my point was a simple one. All of the points Rabbi slifkin brings up to make sense of certain verses in the megilla point to a sound military strategy that much to our detriment, the modern jewish generals have abandoned for the sake of politicial correctness and geneva handcuffs (or their own purity of arms handcuffs). The reconciliations Rabbi Slifkin suggested make sense in light of a policy of RECIPROCITY - what the enmy does to us we are willing to do whatever is needed to counteract and stop them. Otherwise, his suggested explanations of the verses don't make it any better, if you hold that a brutal enemy cannot be dealt with in a brutal manner!

    In the purim story they did what was necessary to WIN - not just to appear western or cosmopolitan or "impressively" xtian, God forbid.

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  31. Student V, I apologies. I was wondering myself how your comments the way I understood them were completely out of you character. Let's see if I understand correctly now. You are saying that the sound military strategy that we learn from Megilah is to do whatever is necessary to win. Correct? I agree but within the framework of civilized warfare as defined by the international law to the maximum extend possible. Brutality doesn't bring lasting victory. They had rules of warfare in those days as well. Josephus relates that pouring boiling oil on besieging troops was against the accepted norms of warfare. Jews practiced it out of desperation in their war with Rome and suffered the consequences.

    As far as measured Israeli response is concerned, Israel doesn't believe that there is a military solution to the conflict. Sooner or latter a deal will have to be made, hence the measured response.

    Lemmase, after the attack in Itamar what more should be done then finding and punishing the terrorist and his accomplices?

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  32. "Lemmase, after the attack in Itamar what more should be done then finding and punishing the terrorist and his accomplices?"

    First off, Israel can demand that the PA stop inciting hatred in their media and textbooks, or there is no more peace negotiation.

    That would be a good start. It's time to stop letting them get away with things which we know they have the power to change. If its true that everyone sees itamar as bad, then the P.A. can use that to change the textbooks and media.

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  33. "Would you say the same if I felt guilty because I'm not organizing a group of people to walk into PA controlled territories carrying large signs that says Israel is a Jewish Democracy and killing anyone who attacks us?"

    I commended an attempt at consistency between your various beliefs, not between your beliefs and actions.

    As it happens, I would generally agree that consistency between belief and action is also good. There are, however, certain racists for whom I would not recommend such a practice.

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  34. I have no doubt that Hazal did interpret misswoth in a way which adapts somewhat to changing moral sensibilites. But, that type of interpretive license would only happen as a result of considering what correct moral sensibilities acutally are within the context of a wholesome Torah view which takes into account Torah principles as a whole.

    When dealing with a genocidal enemy population there is no reason to think that Hazal, had they been living today, would feel that correct moral sensibilities should limit the scope of our reprisals against civilian populations.

    Having said that I don't think that what is called for in response to the Itamar terrorist attack is to round up and kill Arab babies. What is called for is reprisals against the general civilian population which incidentally result in the death of many babies.

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  35. HaRazieli,

    AgainI ask whether you will bedoing thekilling or whether your desire for bloodonly applies for others to do the work. When are you signing up for Tzahal? Also, would you have been ok with Arabs doing the same after Baruch Goldstein's murders?

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  36. Harazieli said:

    'What is called for is reprisals against the general civilian population which incidentally result in the death of many babies.'

    These are war crimes and will result in Israel's defeat and possible destruction. If UN can impose a no-fly zone over Lybia then can do the same over Israel.

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  37. Pesach,

    I would not advocate Arab reprisals against us after Baruch Goldstein's action since they are the bad guys\aggressors. I would recommend that any Arabs who wish to dissociate themselves from the morally rotten Palestinian national cause do so in an open manner such as allows us to embrace them as allies of the Jewish nation.

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  38. HaRazieli,

    You are commenting on a blog of rationalism a statement like :they are the agressors" does not belong here. Baruch Goldstein is an agressor. There are times when Jews in the shtachim are agressors. To suggest otherwise is absurd.

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  39. Carol, your latest comments really make you sound like you are paralyzed by fear. We do not have to obey the UN or "international community." Israel in its past HAS defied them all and defied the US, and it did not cause armageddon. In fact, it brought great victory. We do not have to cower in fear because the world hates us. Now is the time for self respect.

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  40. Nothing will happen to Israel no matter what the US does or says. They can certainly try bombing Israel, but Hashem will stop the bombs in mid-air. Of this we are confident, because we are Jews, and for no other reason.

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  41. Pesach,

    In this conflict Arabs are indeed the aggressors and anything Jews do in response is just that.

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  42. "Mike" aka poshuter,

    What you said is insane. Bombs will not be stopped in midair and we would be stupid to believe that. On the other hand , it is not rational to believe that the US would bomb Israel for defending itself or being a little harsher w srabs than obama would like! People suggesting this clearly live with an irrational fear of the goyim and a ghetto-mentality which is incapable of evaluating facts.

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  43. Student V said:
    'Carol, your latest comments really make you sound like you are paralyzed by fear. We do not have to obey the UN or "international community." Israel in its past HAS defied them all and defied the US, and it did not cause armageddon.'

    Israel has never engaged in atrocities against the civilian population or acts of genocide. This is what being advocated by you, razieli and some other people on this thread. I am completly against it. It's morally wrong, against Israel's own interest and will benefit her enemies. I am not against military actions, but I am leaving that for the generals who are the experts. Self-respect, you say? War crimes are not the way to aquire it. Chazal tell us in Pirkei Avos: 'Eize hu mechubad? Haqmechabed es habrios!'. 'Brios' includes everyone.

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  44. Carol,

    Your citation of "eizehu mechubad" is completely warped. Yes, we should generally respect our fellow Jews and humanity. But, not those who are our enemies-and yes, the Palestinians are indeed our enemies.

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  45. Razieli and all the brave warriors out there, enemies or not they don't lose their human rights or protection of the law in our civilization. I simply gave a contemporary explanation to the Mishna in the spirit of our times. And this is how I learn it and teach it. How many times do I have to say that I am not against legitimate military response?

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  46. Your explanation of the Mishna is not a reasonable interpretation. What is called for is not identifying with the "spirit of the times" but rather the true spirit of the Torah which demands that enemy populations be treated harshly until surrender or expulsion.

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  47. No. The enlightened nations of the world agreed on civilized rules of warfare. Israel is supposed to be the light to the nations in ethics and morality. If you consider that it's a country surrounded by enemies that has been at war for over 60 years, it occupies a unique place due to its awesome achievements in every area and especially in the area of democracy, freedom and human rights. Treating the enemy population in a way that violates the GC and international law will destroy this achievement. This is what our enemies want and it will not help us win, but will add a powerful weapon to their arsenal. Just look at the modern world - brutality doesn't work. If you don't see the moral problem consider the practical aspect. Torah doesn't want Israel to be a pariah state. Again from Pirkei Avois: 'Eisehu hacham? Haroeh es hanolad.'

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  48. Unless our definitions of genocide differ, I don't believe I advocated what you say I advocated, Carol. So can I ask why you are putting words in my mouth? Or, are you redefining genocide to include anything that tickles the back of ban ki moon's neck? In that case even any small measure of self defense against terrorist hideouts by israel can be called genocide. Yes, those operations are condemned!

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  49. Carol, you say you are not against "any" legitimate military operation, but you define legitimacy by UN Prescriptions! We are not bound to those artificial guidelines which purposefully tilt the advantage toward our enemies. You simply assume that since multiple nations agreed upon it (in writing and theory, notably NOT in action), then its infallible gospel. Razieli and I and other "warriors" simply do not accept these suicidal handcuffs. It doesn't mean we want to go and wantonly kill as many fakestinian children as possible - who would ever want to do something like that?

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  50. Student V, these are your words:

    'Btw - this post is a blueprint for why we lose to the arabs and the model we should be following in order to defeat them. Look at some of your answers in regards to reciprocity. In those days Jews (or at least Jewish generals?) Knew how to fight and win.'

    What war has Israel lost? Aren't you suggesting that reciprocity that is missing is the killing of the civilian population? I never mentioned UN and don't think that Israel is bound by its resolutions. I don't know how to fight wars and leave it to the army. All I oppose is violation of the universal human rights. Yes, Israel is bound by the GC and has won all its wars without violating it. This is Israel's strength and not weakness.

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  51. Student V said:
    ' It doesn't mean we want to go and wantonly kill as many fakestinian children as possible - who would ever want to do something like that?'

    Your fellow warrior Yehuda wants. This is what he said:
    'Hence, I don't care if we are morally "superior" to Arabs or not. In fact, if we killed civilians the way Arabs did, we would be much better off. I, for one, would kill 10,000 Palestinians a week until they unconditionally surrendered.

    My reaction to the murders is not shock and grief. We all know how barbaric the Arabs are. There's nothing shocking about it; it's expected and will happen again. Our reaction should be to kill our enemy, not talk about how barbaric they are. (And our enemy is not a few individual terrorists; it is the Arab population in greater Israel.)'.

    Are you denying it already? What will be your line at Neurenberg?

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  52. Carol, maybe you're missing the point. If you react to my comment, you should be reacting to what I wrote, not what yehuda wrote (or any other shlomo or other warrior). Still I find a problem with what you claimed about yehuda vs what he actually wrote (and you quoted). Why did the word 'civilians' get transformed into 'children' by you carol?

    The distinction you made between the UN and geneva accords is inconsequential to me. I view them the same in principle. The UN claims to be upholding those accords with its condemnations and fulminating. I can't speak for yehuda or anyone else, but can't you see Carol, that there is a difference between purposely rampaging civilians who are clearly unarmed vs. Rejecting a policy which puts the lives of your soldiers in danger in order to protect civilians (even some who are aiding the terrorists or are actually armed)? You cannot see these are different?

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  53. Additional points- being a "light to the world" does not supercede survival. That's number 1.

    Now, In yehuda's defense, since we're on the subject, why if our enemies do not abide by the GC, should we? Wouldn't that be suicidal? Maybe we are a light to the world by following yehuda's formula - then we have shown how the arabs in the mideast understand strength and how they need to be dealt with to decrease hostilities. By example we can show how to react to a group which has no regard for the civility set out by civilized nations. The GC are for mutually abiding nations such as the ones who signed them and regularly observe them. Ever consider that your idea of light to the nations is incorrect? Why is it automatically a model of meekness and weakness rather than a model of strength and survival?

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  54. Student V, said:

    'Still I find a problem with what you claimed about yehuda vs what he actually wrote (and you quoted). Why did the word 'civilians' get transformed into 'children' by you
    carol?'

    And this is what Yehuda wrote:
    'Our reaction should be to kill our enemy, not talk about how barbaric they are. (And our enemy is not a few individual terrorists; it is the Arab population in greater Israel.)'.

    The Arab population in greater Israel includes a fair number of children, no? Or do you think that he intends to send children to the left and the parents to the right? Will you also be playing music? Please...

    Your intentions are good but your ideas are retarded.

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  55. SV, I think I've already answered most of the points in my posts. I want to put this issue to bed. We are friends, ok?

    Kind regards to the warrior tribe.

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  56. SV, I apologize for saying that your ideas are retarded.

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  57. Carol,

    I actually didn't see the "retarded" comment until now. I must have forgotten about this thread after the last comment I left. I accept your apology.

    As to what I was nitpicking wrt Yehuda, it was that there is a difference between children being killed in a military operation not specifically aimed at children, vs literally targeting children (for whatever sick reason). I thought you had implanted the latter onto yehuda's statements when he was actually discussing the former.

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