Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Time to Love and a Time to Hate,
a Time of War and a Time of Peace (Eccl. 3, 8)

The Jewish Quarter
(of Jerusalem)
The Reality Quarter
by Gutman Locks
at the Kotel

Here, in the Old City (Jerusalem), we live normal lives. Well, normal for our part of the world. Pictured here is a young man rushing around doing the kind of things we all have to do. He is shopping, with his small daughter on his shoulders. Except for unusual architecture, you might think it is like any other Jewish neighborhood you have seen … lots of young children, noise, not enough time to do everything that needs to be done.

But, if you look carefully, you will notice one big difference. Look what he has tucked into his belt right next to his tzitzis (fringes). Do you see it? It is a loaded, nine-millimeter, 16 shot per clip, automatic pistol. Yeah, it’s real, and because he is carrying this, Jewish children can play in the streets.

Shabbos afternoon at the Kotel, a new oleh (immigrant) from Latin America who is in the army asked me, “What kind of religious thing is this… me being in the army learning to kill people? How does this make G-d happy?”

I told him, “The Torah teaches that when someone rises up to kill us, we are not to turn the other cheek, or run away. We are obligated to rise up and kill him first. We do not want war with these people. We want to live in peace. We would even let them live here as long as they would stop trying to kill us. But they rise up against us time and time again. We have to defend ourselves.

"Even the world’s greatest example of kindness, Avraham, had to fight a war in order to free his captured nephew. And it seems that until the Messiah comes, we too will have to fight. You are doing a tremendous mitzvah by being in the army. If you weren’t there, the Jewish people couldn’t be here.”

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