Menu



error This forum is not active, and new posts may not be made in it.
Promote
Nick Sym

4679
23156 Posts
23156
Invite Me as a Friend
Top 25 Poster
Person Of The Week
Re: hmmmmmm
8/21/2008 1:05:56 AM
Turn the Other Cheek, Get Slapped Twice

Torah Reading: Numbers 25:10-30:1; Haftarah Reading: Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

It seems obvious that striking back at an enemy is a gratifying but lower response than forgiving the trespass in the first place. A person who is able to overlook having been wronged demonstrates a higher form of moral sensitivity, by setting priorities that preclude a need to get back at someone else. That line of reasoning was given its classical formulation in the Christian Scripture, with the mandate to "turn the other cheek." If someone slaps you on one side of the face, rather than slapping back, simply offer your other cheek to be slapped. By doing so, you confront your enemy with the power of love and the depth of your own humanity.

Such morality has retained its popularity from the time of Jesus into our own century as well. Mahatma Gandhi was the pre-eminent exponent of this approach, of returning hostility with passive resistance. He urged Indians by the thousands to resist the violence of British officers and soldiers with equanimity, allowing the British soldiers to beat, maim and often shoot Indian opponents of British colonialism without opposition.

Through this massive passivity, Gandhi and his followers hoped to show the British and the world the power of love to overcome hatred and oppression. In our own country, the great Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader, employed this same passive resistance to the discriminatory laws which pervaded America. His followers, like Gandhi's, were clubbed, attacked by guard dogs, and hosed without struggle - as a way to awaken the slumbering moral conscience of the Nation.

But what if a nation has no moral conscience? Isn't it possible that the policy of turning the other cheek can only work with a democratic government, one in which public opinion recoils from brutality and is forced to witness its own police and citizenry in unfettered reporting every day?

In other words, turning the other cheek only works when people are not as good as they ought to be, and when the citizenry is fundamentally moral and open. In imperial Rome, they butchered the people who turned the other cheek. In the Jim Crow South, they were lynched. Such an approach disregards the enormity of evil in the world, ignoring the fact that there are people and organizations that knowingly destroy human lives and families, willfully and without apology. Hitler could not be shamed out of Auschwitz, and Stalin was not embarrassed by the Gulags. In such instances, rather than representing a higher spirituality, turning the other cheek is simply a form of cooperating with evil.

Our Torah portion addresses the issue of real evil. In speaking of the Midianites, a tribe which attacked the stragglers and weak among the Israelite tribes, the Torah instructed our ancestors to "harass the Midianites . . . for they harass you."

The Torah recognized the reality of human evil -- a malignancy which goes beyond not recognizing the consequences of one's actions, or underestimating how much one's policies hurt others, but the reality that some people delight in oppressing and putting others down.

Such people cannot be won over through appeals to conscience or by showing one's own weakness. Rather they can only be opposed with a greater force than they would have used to impose their own will on others.

An ancient Midrash teaches, "If a man comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." No turning the other cheek here. Unadulterated evil can only be opposed with superior power. There are times when discussion fails, when persuasion is beside the point. At such times, as our Rabbis taught, "who begins with kindness to the cruel winds up being cruel to the kind."

Most people are not evil. Many simply need to see firsthand - and over a long period of time - the consequences of their own bigotry, anger or greed. But that predominance should not blind us to evil and its reality. The example of the Midianites, and the Torah's insistence that evil must be exposed and opposed, is the natural consequence of a passion for justice. Mercy is important as a way to temper strict justice. But as a replacement for justice, mercy results in the suffering of the victim instead of the wicked.

Our Torah insists on balancing mercy and justice - each with its own appropriate sphere, each with its own important jurisdiction. Justice, an insistence that actions have consequences, requires that we oppose evil with sufficient force to prevent the wicked from harming the innocent. Gandhi and King notwithstanding, Jews do not turn the other cheek. We strike back hard enough to prevent any further aggression.

Shabbat shalom.

Breast Cancer Awareness On My Site! http://www.freewebs.com/nicksym Free exposure that works http://www.webbizinsider.com/Home.asp?RID=55242
+0
Linda Harvey

5904
7952 Posts
7952
Invite Me as a Friend
Top 25 Poster
Person Of The Week
Re: hmmmmmm
8/21/2008 11:04:58 AM
balancing mercy and justice - each with its own appropriate sphere, each with its own important jurisdiction. Justice, an insistence that actions have consequences, requires that we oppose evil with sufficient force to prevent the wicked from harming the innocent. Gandhi and King notwithstanding, Jews do not turn the other cheek. We strike back hard enough to prevent any further aggression.

Nick agree,  Every injustice, murder, violence should have consequences ...

there is much mayhem and genecide going on in the world, with no one to hold the injust responsible....  with consequences...
http://www.aarf.MyCTFO.com/cbd www.lindasdeals.net
+0
Re: hmmmmmm
8/21/2008 11:47:27 AM

Very good Nick!

You are Torahobservant!

Preachers do often preach about God´s love and mercy but rather little about His anger over sin and His holiness.

Every unforgiven sin have consequenses.

To harm righteous people and civilians must have consequenses too, either it´s physical violence or verbally violence against innocent ones.

Mattias Kroon Affiliate Creative Marketer http://moneymaker4554.blogspot.com/
+0
Linda Harvey

5904
7952 Posts
7952
Invite Me as a Friend
Top 25 Poster
Person Of The Week
Re: hmmmmmm
8/21/2008 2:18:14 PM
Every unforgiven sin have consequenses.

tHANK YOU FOR THE POST!
http://www.aarf.MyCTFO.com/cbd www.lindasdeals.net
+0


facebook
Like us on Facebook!