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Swords, Guns and Judaism
The Mishnah (Shabbos 6:4) states that a man may not go out in the street on Shabbos, where there is no eruv, wearing a sword or other such weapon. Rabbi Eliezer disagrees, arguing that such weapons are adornments, and may thus be worn in the same way that jewelry is worn. The sages are of the view that weapons, rather than being enhancements to a person, are “gennai” (a difficult word to translate; perhaps “shameful” or “detractions”), citing the verse "They shall beat their swords into plowshares..." (Yeshayah 2:4).
In the Gemara, the sages ask Rabbi Eliezer why, if weapons are adornments, they shall no longer be used in the Messianic Era. In one version, he responds that they are simply unnecessary at that time; in another version, he responds that weapons will indeed still be necessary in the Messianic Era.
The Gemara further states that Rabbi Eliezer’s own view is based on the verse, "Gird your sword upon your thigh, O hero, in your splendor and glory" (Psalms 45:4). A question is raised that this was traditionally understood to be a metaphor for Torah study, to which it is answered that a verse’s literal meaning is never entirely negated.
Curiously, the Gemara does not explain how the view of the Sages is to be reconciled with this verse. Still, the fact remains that according the majority view of the Sages, weapons are only tragic tools of necessity; never something in which to find glory. They even explained that the reason why iron tools could not be used in the construction of the Temple was that iron is used to construct tools of war.
Even in Scripture, recording the battle-filled days of Biblical times, there are no famous, celebrated individual weapons or types of weapons. There is no Excalibur, Anduril, or lightsaber-equivalent. The only famous weapons in Scripture, and indeed all Jewish history, are a slingshot and the jawbone of an ass! And the legacy throughout Jewish history, as expressed by the Sages, is that weapons are items that are regrettable. This presents a sharp contrast to various other cultures, in which weapons are tools of glory, to be manufactured in decorative forms, to be worn at ceremonial events, and to be fired at celebrations.