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Thou shalt not murder

יעקב ישראל ואשר מנחם פלאי, רעידת האדמה בטורקיה


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Two headlines jumped out at me simultaneously. "News flash: A contingent of the IDF in Turkey rescued a 10-year old boy who had been trapped underneath earthquake rubble for four days." And also: "News flash: The Pally brothers, 6-year-old Ya'akov Yisrael and and 8-year-old Asher Menachem, were brought to rest after they were murdered in a Muslim terrorist attack on Erev Shabbat in Jerusalem."

Two headlines, two worlds separated by an unfathomable abyss. While Israeli rescuers would go anywhere on earth to save children whose lives are threatened following a natural disaster, a terrorist in Israel intentionally drives into a crowded bus stop to murder children in Shabbat clothes on their way to a family Shabbat gathering.

In the Torah portion we just read on Shabbat morning, it's simply written: "Thou shalt not murder." Without explanation or elaboration. Murder is simply forbidden. Rashi, the Torah's most famous commentator, does not comment on these words.

Although the idea of committing murder is inconceivable to us, our sages did find parallels to this evil act. "To whiten the face of another person in public is equivalent to spilling their blood." In other words, embarrassing someone in public is akin to murder since such emotional distress may turn the face white, as if the blood had been drained from it. "To refrain from giving tzedakah is akin to spilling blood." Each of us can behave with greater sensitivity towards others, especially the needy, since everyone has been created in the image of God. By acting in this manner, we will elevate the souls of the murdered and hasten the recovery of the wounded.

The classmates of Ya'akov Yisrael and Asher Menachem probably learnt a lot this past week about "Thou shalt not murder". Today, their two friends will not come to school. If only the entire world would study this commandment.


ספר חדש לקוראים הצעירים ולכל המשפחה

"לגדול! 3", על תנועת החסידות ועלינו

להנחה - השתמשו בקוד קופון 3333

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