zenpundit.com » judaism

Archive for the ‘judaism’ Category

Talmud for today?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — two brief surface readings in Talmud, with a request for deeper understanding ]
.

As someone brought up with more of a focus on the Beatitudes than the Torah (I know, a huge question with many potential shades of answer opens up when I say that), I was not familiar with this Talmudic aphorism until the drone strikes that killed Anwar al-Awlaki and shortly thereafter his son Abdulrahman brought it to my attention:

Ha-Ba le-Horgekha Hashkem le-Horgo is a teaching of increasing popularity among Israelis. Taken from the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 72:1, its most precise translation is: ‘If someone comes to kill you, get up early to kill him first.’

I imagine it also has relevance to the (presumed) Israeli targeted killing of (eg) Imad Mughniyah..

**

Yesterday I came across a second such Talmudic phrase, based on Genesis 50:

The sages derived a principle from this text. Mutar le-shanot mipnei ha-shalom: “It is permitted to tell an untruth (literally, “to change” the facts) for the sake of peace.” A white lie is permitted in Jewish law.

This aphorism may be of interest to bear in mind in the context of Israeli peace negotiations — but more directly (and literally) “it is permitted to change the facts” carries a sidelong resemblance to the concepts of alt-facts & faux news currently infesting our politicians and media…

Sources:

  • Jewish Quarterly, Kill him first
  • Rabbi Sacks, When is it Permitted to Tell a Lie?
  • ^^

    Knowing the Talmud to be deeper and richer than my own understanding by many orders of magnitude, I’d like to invite commentary on these or other aspects of Talmudic thought that may play, directly or indirectly, into national security issues.

    All Muslims all think alike, yeah?

    Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — not so ]
    .

    On the one hand you have Sheikh Wael Al-Ghitawi..

    — and on the other, Prof Aisha Ahmad

    Alhamdulillah!

    Muslim-Jewish DoubleQuotes

    Monday, February 27th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — good news in response to bad ]
    .

    First:

    resulting in:

    And now:

    resulting in:

    **

    The heart dismayed, the heart uplifted. Thank you, thank you.

    Holocaust Memorial Day, remember

    Sunday, January 29th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — still recovering from heart surgery, still a couple days slow on current affairs ]
    .

    Holocaust Memorial Day might have passed me by completely had President Trump not decided to sign his executive order putting an initial ban on refugees — and green card holders — from seven Muslim-majority countries entering the US.

    **

    The parallelism speaks for itself. In a single tweet:

    Read all about it: Anne Frank and her family were also denied entry as refugees to the U.S.:

    “The story seems to unfold in slow motion as the painstaking exchange of letters journey across continents and from state to state, their information often outdated by the time they arrive,” the New York Times wrote … “Each page adds a layer of sorrow as the tortuous process for gaining entry to the United States — involving sponsors, large sums of money, affidavits and proof of how their entry would benefit America — is laid out. The moment the Franks and their American supporters overcame one administrative or logistical obstacle, another arose.”

    **

    See also the St. Louis Manifest Twitter feed.

    The Smithsonian magazine describes it as “like a slow dirge, steadily announcing the names of the St. Louis passengers who were killed..”

    A sample:

    **

    Yet despite all..

    **

    And that’s before we begin to consider the constitutionality, in a nation dedicated to having “no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, of executive orders that ban Muslims while showing preference for Christians, nor the likelihood that such orders will blow back on us, increasing IS and AQ recruitment.

    Consider, for instance, this quote from an article subheaded ISIS aims to exploit Trump’s controversial rhetoric about Muslims to reinforce its propaganda, five current and former members told BuzzFeed News. “Trump will shorten the time it takes for us to achieve our goals,” one said.

    ISIS also sees Trump as an ideal enemy for propaganda purposes, the former and current members of the group said, believing that his campaign’s heated rhetoric about Muslims will help the extremist group with recruitment by reinforcing its central narrative that America and the West are at war with Islam. “Trump announced his hatred of Arabs and Muslims and did not hide it as presidents did before him,” an ISIS official based outside the city of Palmyra said, speaking via an encrypted chat service.

    Happy Christmas: Of Shia & Christian in Beirut and Aleppo

    Sunday, December 25th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — season’s greetings ]
    .

    Posted by Rami Al Khal on Tuesday, December 20, 2016

    .
    I trust you can see and hear this video, or at least click through to Le Liban c’est ça aussi : une chorale musulmane qui chante Noël dans une église and watch it. It presents, as the post in French tells us, a Lebanese Shiite choir singing Christmas carols in a church, and with it I offer you my Christmas greetings on behalf of one and all at Zenpundit, greetings secular, sacred, Maccabean, Nazarene, Muslim, or at the mall.

    **

    I’m, as you may know, in recovery from heart surgery and on kidney dialysis, and this year I received a very kind care package of renal-failure appropriate food from an anonymous source, so I’m reminded that while the mall, grocery store and food-laden table may not represent the “essence of Christmas” as my mother would have wished — the child born God to brighten our dark world — they can nonetheless represent generosity as well as commerce, a break in the relentless pursuit of dominance, human life as gift and giving.

    On this day, therefore, of commercial, charitable and Christian celebration, we wish you all, according to your varied natures and our own perspectives, happiness this Christmas in the teeth of winter and the world.

    **

    That Muslim voices are raised above in a Christian church in praise of the Christian nativity offers a glimpse of hope for mutual respect in the strife-and faith-torn Middle East — but such matters as the overlapping and interconnections of faiths are never simple, and by way or remembering something of the nuance, here’s a quick sentence from COL Pat Lang‘s post at Sic Semper Tyrannis yesterday, Christmas in Aleppo – Attention Joe Scarborough:

    One of our German correspondents on SST informed us the other day that there are now some Christian members of Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia militia. This would make sense because after the 2006 war against Israel Hizbullah assigned priority of its own reconstruction money to Christians in south Lebanon.

    **

    To quote Charles Dickens:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity..

    Best wishes & blessings to all..


    Switch to our mobile site