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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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GENESIS — 15:1 fear

A core commitment to the preservation of humanity—our own and that of our enemies—means that we do not shy away from protecting ourselves, our civilians, and our values, but that when we fight, we do so not with bombast and arrogance, but with fear and trembling.  We never delight in the opportunity to fight, and we work to ensure that our soldiers’ conduct in war lives up to the highest possible standards of moral decency.  The fact that a nation may have a legitimate need to fight does not justify recklessness. … In [this verse], Abraham emerges victorious after fighting the invading armies of four mighty kinds.  In his first moment of rest after the battles, he is addressed by G-d: “Al tirah Avram—Fear not, Abram” But why would Abraham be afraid?  He has just vanquished his enemies and is, for the first time in years, able to dwell in peace.  The Rabbis teach that his fear derived from a persistent post-war apprehension, as he thought, “Perhaps there was one righteous or G-d-fearing person among the people I killed.” Bereshit [Genesis] Rabbah 15:1.  What would that kind of moral sensitivity look like in our time? The hour calls for a heartfelt reaffirmation of our shared humanity—something that seems to have been lost in contemporary warfare.  Perhaps that will help us step out of the morass of these violent times and begin to build pathways toward peace.  DORWAR 104

GENESIS — 18:32 ten

[I]f we are to oppose genocide as Jews, then surely we need to be able to say that the biblical genocides should have been opposed.   Or we at least need to say that we now recognize their wrongness, even if that involves arguing with G-d.   But we have precedents for arguing with G-d.   Abraham argued against G-d’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, though he stopped short of a flat-out condemnation of what G-d was doing.  His last question was [this verse].  Surely he should have kept going—what if there were five, or even one?   And since this was an argument only about adults, Abraham should also have insisted that all the children in the two cities were innocent—like the 120,000 children of Ninevah, “who do not yet know their right hand from their left,” for whose sake G-d spared the city, against the wishes of the prophet Jonah (Jonah 4:11).  DORWAR 60

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