“American Rabbis For Israel First” wiped the floor with two feeble-minded rabbis. Admittedly—and by virtue of being publicity hounds—the rabbis had already self-selected into a pretty odious social-group sample.
Thus, when I retired (to bed), a few nights back, with the commentary of Rabbi Dovid Bendory, rabbinic director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership—I expected little by way of intellectual fare, given the mostly liberal rabbis we’re accustomed to enduring in the public eye. Their impetus is invariably emotional, not intellectual.
Indeed, Jews, who’re usually an analytical lot, have also been infected with the contempt for reason running throughout society. “Curricula in schools emphasize the non-analytical. The media convey emotionalism. Religious institutions junk doctrine for feel-goodism, and what goes for compassion is really sappy sentimentality.” (From “Why Read Return To Reason.”)
Understanding liberty, of course, demands reason (again, from “Why Read Return To Reason”):
In the introduction to F.A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom,” economist Milton Friedman puts his finger on the backdrop to the growth of collectivism: “The argument for collectivism is simple if false; it is an immediate emotional argument. The argument for individualism is subtle and sophisticated; it is an indirect rational argument.”
In his biblically based argument against pacifism, and in defense of a “righteous killing,” Rabbi Bendory demonstrates a command of Hebrew grammar as well as impressive deductive, analytical thinking. In particular was I intrigued by Rabbi Bendory’s distinction, bolstered by references or the absence thereof in scripture, between retzach (murder) and hariga (killing). Never thought of that.
Essentially, JPFO’s rabbinic director argues that the Sixth Commandment enjoins against murder, not necessarily against killing, and that, translated, the Hebrew Lo tirtzach! “has a clear and unequivocal meaning:
“Do not murder,” and not do not kill.
Read “The Ten Commandments, Killing, and Murder”: A Detailed Commentary by Rabbi Dovid Bendory, Rabbinic Director, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.