Former Sephardi chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu used the one month anniversary of the massacre at Mercaz Harav rabbinical seminary by offering his own unique take on the value of a human life: insisting that the life of a single Jew should be re-paid by 1000 Arab lives. He clearly explained that this was not just him talking, it was the “revenge” ordained by God.
Eliyahu told the crowd: “Even when we seek revenge, it is important to make one thing clear – the life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs . . . The Talmud states that if gentiles rob Israel of silver they will pay it back in gold, and all that is taken will be paid back in folds, but in cases like these there is nothing to pay back, since as I said – the life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs.” He also sought to establish a life-to-yeshiva ratio: calling on the government to decree that for every life lost in the attack another yeshiva and community will be built.
If nothing else, Eliyahu seems to have finally bridged a gap with Islamic extremists and shown some shared hateful principles, click here.
It seems that moderates on both sides have much work to do.
For the full story, click here.
16 thoughts on “Math Madness: Leading Rabbi Says Every Jewish Life is Worth 1000 Arab Lives”
I like your vehicle metaphor for religion. It takes the exclusivity out of it, since one can get to where one is going equally well in a Bentley, Buick or a Beetle. The problem which you have adroitly identified is the control by the leaders over the lives and resources of its members. Religion can be used for good –as we all know Irish monks preserved classical knowledge which led directly to the Enlightenment, but it can also be manipulated for evil— as in the Spanish Inquisition. Your metaphor also appeals to our human sense of identity since we can customize our religion to address needs and wants which are sometimes idiosyncratic. Deism handles the Epicurean paradox, so Michael, as much as anyone can, I think you’ve got it right.
Mespo & DW,
I generally agree with both of you. I see/feel a spiritual sense of the interconnectedness of the universe and all life. While I believe there is a creative force, I don’t think that force acts as a puppeteer, but more as the creator of a perpetual machine that it has set in motion (deism anyone?). However, that’s me and I hold no illusion as to my knowing more than anyone else on the subject.
As for the question of why practice a religion at all, for me personally I identify with the history of the Jews and I am proud of my ethnicity. My religious practice is akin to yoga/meditation as a method of achieving inner peace and Judaism is a comfortable vehicle to achieve it. At the same time I know that there are a myriad of equally valid ways to do it.
Where it all gets crazy is when religion is used for political and/or psychological control. Jews certainly hold no monopoly on truth, nor are they immune from the ignorance that has led Moslems, Christians, Hindu’s and even Helenists from hurting their fellow humans.
Deeply & Jill:
Heartfelt agreement here.
D.W. One’s life is the commentary is a beautiful way of looking at things.
We don’t. In spirituality it is usually better to cut out the middlemen after getting one’s sea legs. One’s life is the commentary.
I think the Golden Rule is instructional here. Many religions promote this teaching as they have found wisdom in it’s message. Interestingly, many of the nonreligious follow this adage as well, testimony I suppose to the universality of its truth. Given the broad acceptance of such a simple concept, are religions even necessary to support this seemingly innate sense of morality. Is essence, I am asking the Great Rabbi, why do we need the commentary or the commentators?
Fundamentalism in any religion, this Rabbi is a fundamentalist, is generally the refuge of people who use scriptures/commentary’s to reinforce their own prejudice. As a committed Jew, I on one hand deplore the Rabbi’s stupidity/bigotry, but on the other hand I know that many of my co-religionists (even supposed scholars) have no idea about its teachings.
To paraphrase one of Judaism’s great Rabbi’s when asked to comment on the meaning of The Torah, replied “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, all the rest is commentary.”
Better consider a suburban a location outside of Vegas – possibly something in the heartland where right means Righteous and left means “Commie”.
Vegas is dangerous. The specific audience required for this booking will likely have been completely fleeced of their belongings before showtime.
Bidness is bidness eh? I’m just sayin’
mespo and binx,
Religion does make great cover. Father probably would be effective but it’s going to cost us…a lot! Maybe we could book him as part of the bluemen exorcist group in Vegas and get all the religionists to meet there as they engage in practices they have banned for everyone else.
Apologies – last sentence; “… my observation: Truly spiritual people very rarely rant … they are distinguished by their actions. Those that are wearing the costumes rarely do anything … and mostly rant.”
Confirmation, once again, that religion has nothing at all to do with strife in the Mideast. As for that exorcism, I bet Father Saverio Bazzoffi (referenced above) could handle the job.
As has been noted, it isn’t just the small “c” christians (forever grateful to Jill) that have secularized an adaptation of their religious figure creating what I like to think of as orthodox agnostics. They have all these rule books – but not a shred of soul. There’s nothing spiritual about them.
A few years ago, I was sued by a former business partner, for what he described to others, was his ‘scriptural right.’ The poor soul is a religious “scholar” and explained to anyone that would ask, how he had been wronged. In fact, he tried to perpetrate a fraud and I instructed colleagues to trip the global purchasing fraud traps which would cause an investigation before any funds were released by our very large International client.
Of course, he provided his counsel with dogma, and I provided our counsel with facts, records, minutes and documents. The judge dismissed the case ‘with prejudice.’
The larger point of course is that traveling the globe for a good part of my adult life, I have been in the company of many ‘known’ civilian religious and many ‘known’ politicians or government officials who were outwardly religious …. people of all faiths. The distinction is very easy in my observation.. Truly spiritual people, very rarely rant … they rarely do. Those that are wearing the costume rarely do … they mostly rant.
Religionists need a massive secular exorcism. Does any one specialize in the casting out of stupid and cruel…someone who can separate church and hate? I see the rabbi deftly included hatred of women in his diatibe as well. ARRGGGGGG!
Excellent, Mr Turley.
How strange that his math seems to mimic the USA’s math.
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