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 Feb. 6, 2006 / 8 Shevat, 5766

All's fair in war?

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

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The ethics of war

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: Right now there is much controversy over the ethical way to fight the many determined enemies of our way of life. What does Jewish tradition tell us about this?

A: Our relationship to war in Judaism starts with a paradox. Judaism is the source of one of the earliest and most majestic visions of a society of friendship among nations, where war is obsolete. The very foundation of our nation, and its eternal mission, is found in G-d's blessing to the patriarch Abraham, "in you shall be blessed all the families of the earth" (Genesis 12:3; this blessing is repeated another three times: in Genesis 18:18, 22:18, and 26:4.)

Indeed, one of the monuments most closely identified with the United Nations is the "Isaiah wall" at an adjacent park, inscribed with a quote from the prophet Isaiah (2:4): "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Yet Judaism is certainly not a pacifistic religion, and we find in Scriptures that the Jewish prophets often inform us that we are obligated to go to war and fight resolutely.

The resolution of these conflicting prophecies is very simple. In our current, imperfect stage of history, our own willingness to engage in conflict is sometimes an essential step in bringing about a future where all people can live in harmony.

This approach, however, implies that while armed conflict is frequently legitimate and even obligatory, we must never lose sight of the fact that war in itself is a curse. Indeed, the Mishnah tells us that fundamentally, war is a disgrace. (1) War is sanctioned only as a means to an end, and that means that its conduct must always be guided with those ends in mind. In the past I have described this principle as follows: War must be conducted with a vision of the day after the war.

Maimonides begins his section on the laws of war in the Laws of Kings by stating: "War can never be waged against anyone before a call to peace. This applies equally to a discretionary war [meant to further some policy objective] and to an obligatory one [generally one waged in self-defense]. As it is written, 'When you approach a city to war against it, call them to peace'. If they agree to make peace and accept the seven commandments of Noah [a minimal framework for civilized existence], not one soul may be killed."

In other words, war must begin with a vision of the kind of society we are trying to create after the war — in this case, a situation of peace and the basis for civilized life.

Clausewitz is famous for stating "War is nothing but a continuation of politics by other means". We could modify this to state that "war is nothing but a continuation of education by other means." Indeed, politics itself is an educational instrument, whereby each individual or group tries to persuade others of the righteousness of his point of view.

A succinct expression of this idea is brought in the name of Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook. A student cited another scholar who claimed that Israel doesn't have authority to wage war against her enemies, so that our response to terror should be explanation and persuasion. Rav Zvi Yehuda replied: "When they come to attack us, we have to persuade them with tanks!" (2)

This approach doesn't dictate precisely which types of warfare are proper and which are unethical. But it does give a general framework for defining the problems. In this spirit, Andrei Sakharov stated, "A thermonuclear war cannot be considered a continuation of politics by other means. It would be a means to universal suicide." Others may disagree with Sakharov about this particular application, but the principle is widely accepted.

The very idea of warfare acknowledges that to a certain extent the ends (a future of peaceful human coexistence) does justify the means (armed conflict). But at the same time, it limits us to those means which actually promote and express the values of the society we strive to defend and promote.

Next week we will provide some more detailed insights from Jewish tradition on this critical issue.

SOURCES: (1) Mishnah Shabbas 6:4 (2) Rabbi David Samson, Toras Eretz Yisrael, p. 288

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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.


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© 2005, The Jewish Ethicist is produced by the JCT Center for Business Ethics