Shoftim 5770-2010


Enmity is regarded by Judaism as so corrosive that even hating one's friend in one's heart is explicitly prohibited by the Torah. The Talmudic interpretation of a verse in parashat Shoftim offers a surprising definition of "enemy."

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Matot-Masei 5766-2006

"Taking a Stand Against the Banality of Evil"

In Parashat Matot, we learn that the Israelite soldiers are instructed to avenge the harlotry of Midianites that resulted in the deaths of 24,000 Israelites in a plague. Despite this exceptional instance, the Jewish soldiers are reluctant to kill the women and children until a Divine command is issued. Why a Divine command? To teach how concerned Judaism is that killing never ever becomes casual or mundane, and to assure that indifference to life never finds a home in the hearts of the Jewish people.

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