The shedding of innocent blood — whether it is the deliberate murder of children or other people who have done no wrong to the perpetrator — is one of the most disturbing and obscene acts man can inflict on man. Historically, such acts have been met with equal retribution, following the rule of “an eye for an eye,” with families, communities or nations exacting cruel revenge on those that killed their innocent brethren. The ancient Code of Hammurabi, the lex talionis and the behavior of past cultures and empires, is widely documented, testifying to the retaliation of nations against their former persecutors. Indeed, early civilizations and even some societies today are driven by deeply rooted tribal feuds and vendettas.
What has been the Jewish response to all the innocent Jewish blood shed throughout the centuries? Despite the fact that Jews, more than any other people, have been the unparalleled victims of massacres, genocides and holocausts, they did not historically avenge their suffering by spilling the blood of their tormentors. Even in the few instances where some acted that way, they were quickly reprimanded and even punished (as in the case of Shimon and Levi avenging the honor of their violated sister Dinah). Case in point: After the horrific Nazi Holocaust, and after Israel had an established powerful army, no one suggested attacking Germany to avenge the six million innocent Jews, of them one and a half million children, they annihilated. Not one Jew went ahead and bombed Berlin cafes. The same is true with the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans etc. etc. — the Jews never returned to take their revenge. The big question is: Why not? Why did the Jews not avenge the countless murders of their families by killing the murderers in turn? Why did they not behave as so many nations did throughout the ages? What is fundamentally wrong with repaying death with death?
Please join Rabbi Jacobson in this fascinating Pinchas-12 Tammuz workshop, as he addresses the latest battles taking place in Israel, and discusses the unique Jewish approach to dealing with atrocities, and what the entire world can learn from this. Macrocosm microcosm. Do you ever crave vengeance on those that did you wrong? Learn new transcendent ways to deal with injustices and abuses that have been perpetrated against us in our personal lives, without ignoring the crime, but also without stooping to our base instincts. Discover an approach to life — and… tragedy — that helps you become part of the solution and not part of the problem.