Congregation Etz Hayim at Hollis Hills Bayside

The consolidated communities of Hollis Hills Bayside Jewish Center and Marathon Jewish Community Center

The Rabbi’s Study Corner–Parshat Beshalah

The weather wasn’t so nice on Shabbat, so for those who missed it, here’s a brief review of what I discussed in shul. As the Israelites saw dead Egyptians on the shore of the Sea of Reeds, what were they thinking? On the one hand, they must have been happy to see their enemies thesuffer. And that’s in line with the Biblical verse, “When the wicked are destroyed, there are songs of joy” (Proverbs 11:10). On the other hand, we have the admonition of Proverbs 24:17, “Do not rejoice at the downfall of your enemy.” The question I raised related to burying the enemy dead, and acknowledging their humanity. What’s the proper course of action?

I’ll let you read the primary sources for the two stories I shared about the State of Israel addressing this very dilemma. First, here’s the excerpt from Meron Benvenisti’s book, City of StoneSeashells on the Jerusalem Shore (1).

Next, check out these two articles on the emotional 2012 ceremony on Ammunition Hill involving veterans from the IDF and the Jordanian Legion to commemorate the fierce battle that took place 45 years earlier:

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israelis-and-jordanians-ammunition-for-peace-1.448047

http://www.timesofisrael.com/on-ammunition-hill-veterans-from-both-banks-of-the-jordan-find-peace/

Finally, since I concluded with the rabbinic imperative to bury non-Jews in certain circumstances for purposes of pursuing peace, here’s a responsum from the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards that addresses join burial after a common disaster:

https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/public/halakhah/teshuvot/19912000/geller_peaceful.pdf

That’s plenty to read and think about for now!
Until next time…

Rabbi Wise