Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 23, 2005 / 12 Adar II, 5765

Purim and the Jewish response to terror

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article



The biblical blueprint for dealing with enemies


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Pogroms. Genocide. Jihad.


These are the devices our enemies have directed against us throughout the ages, for no other reason than because we are Jews. Yet for all that, the commitment to mercy and justice that defines us as a people and sets us apart from the other nations of the earth ensures that we would never seek the destruction of another people simply because of who they are.


Or wouldn't we?


You shall erase the memory of Amolek from beneath the heavens. So the book of Deuteronomy commands us — a command renewed from generation to generation across the span of Jewish history — to strike down the nation of Amolek and obliterate its memory from the consciousness of mankind.


How is such a precept defensible? How can we claim the moral high ground over our enemies if we resort to the same tactics that they employ against us?


The decree against Amolek, however, is based upon neither racial hatred, ethnic struggle, religious ideology, nor even historical justification. Many nations have differed from the Jews in belief, practice, and culture, and many of these have waged war against us and sought our destruction. But only the nation of Amolek warrants such condemnation, not only that we seek out and destroy it, but that we never forget the reason why.


Remember what Amolek did to you on the way, as you departed from Egypt: How they fell upon you in the desert, when you were tired and weary, and cut down the weak who trailed behind you.


Why did Amolek attack us? Why did they descend upon us in the desert, unprovoked, and attempt to annihilate us?


At the time of the Jewish exodus from Egypt, 3317 years ago, the entire world witnessed an event both unprecedented and never to be repeated: The miraculous destruction of the most powerful nation on earth and the even more miraculous supremacy of a small and oppressed people. No one in the world doubted the involvement of the Divine Hand behind the upheaval, nor could anyone fail to recognize the significance of this fledgling nation: the rise of the Jewish nation introduced human civilization to such ideals as peace, collective conscience, social responsibility and, above all, a standard of moral values that would become the foundation of all ethics and human virtue.


Such ideals, previously unknown to human society, did not find immediate universal acceptance. Indeed, the values of Judaism have been rejected and discarded time after time throughout human history. But in the wake of the miraculous destruction of Egypt, every nation and every people recognized what the Jewish nation represented. And every nation stood in awe of them. Every nation except one.


The nation of Amolek despised the very concept of moral standards. They would accept no moral authority, would make every sacrifice to protect their moral autonomy, and would employ any tactic to strike out against the nation who, by teaching morality to the world, threatened to render them a pariah.


Why is it important that they cut down the weak who trailed behind you? What does it reveal that they chose the moment when an unsuspecting people were tired and weary to attack? What perverse strategy drove them to embark upon a hopeless campaign of violence that had no hope of success?


In short, Amolek introduced the world to the tactics of terrorism, launching a suicide campaign against the defenseless, against the tired and the weary, just as their ideological descendants would later blow themselves up to murder women and children, waging brutal physical and psychological war upon a civilian population — not for clearly defined political gain, but to spread chaos and the moral confusion of disorder.


In response, the Torah teaches us the only possible answer to terror: Not negotiation, not compromise, not appeasement, not even military conquest and domination — none of these will ever succeed against the terrorist who seeks nothing less than the obliteration of his enemies, the terrorist driven by such singular purpose that he will sacrifice everything to achieve it and will stop at nothing until he has attained it. He will use others' desire for peace, their respect for human life, and their confidence in the ultimate goodness of mankind as weapons to destroy them; he will make any promise and offer any gesture of goodwill to gain the opportunity to take another life, to cripple another limb, to break the spirit of all who stand between him and moral anarchy.


In confronting terror, little has changed over the course of 33 centuries. Four centuries after Amolek's attack upon the Jews in the desert, King Saul showed a moment's mercy to the king of Amolek, thereby allowing both that nation and its ideology of terror to survive. Five centuries after that, when the Jews of Persia thought to appease Haman, a descendant of Amolek, they very nearly brought about their own destruction, saved only by the miracle of Purim. Similarly did the governments of Europe seek to appease the greatest criminal in modern times, empowering him to send millions to meaningless death in pointless battle and incinerate millions more in an incomprehensible Holocaust.


And today, Western governments and ideologues continue to promote negotiation with and concession to terror, even as more and more innocents are murdered and maimed. Like King Saul, they prove the talmudic dictum that one who shows mercy at a time for cruelty will show cruelty at a time of mercy. For all its insistence upon compassion, upon virtue, upon love for our fellow man, Judaism teaches the cold practicality of confrontation with terror, that there can be no peace with those committed to violence, that there can be no offer of good faith to those who renounce faithfulness, that there can be no respect for the lives of those who devote their lives to dealing out death.


For those who live and die for the sake of terror, only one course of action exists to preserve the society that makes peace and justice possible: to erase their memory from beneath the heavens.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School and Aish HaTorah in St. Louis. Comment by clicking here.

© 2005, Rabbi Yonason Goldson