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For the Love of Life

 

 

Nothing wakens Jews up like a little bit of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semites have a unique way of reminding us why we are special as a people.

Whenever I speak to my Bar/Bat Mitzvah students, I like to tell them that, “If we stood for nothing, the rest of the world wouldn’t care what we say or do. But the fact is that the Jew stands for something great; we believe in Tikkun Olam—bettering the world around us.”

Consider the Noble Prize, which has been given out  since 1901 for achievements in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. In 1969, they added Economics as one of the new fields of endeavor. To date there have been over 850 individuals of various nationalities who have received awards for their unique contributions. At least 20% of the recipients have been Jews, who represent .02% of the world population. Overall, Jews have won a total of 41% of the all the Noble Prizes in  economics, 28% of medicine, 26% of Physics, 19% of Chemistry, 13% of Literature and 9% of all peace awards.

Mind you, these are only secular achievements. In terms of spiritual achievements, Jews are and have been conscience of the world. Our values are very different from the rest of the world.

The latest war with Gaza Jihadism shows the disparity between the culture of death that is championed by Gaza Palestinians and their Muslim allies, e.g., Syria, Iran, ISIS, and others, versus the culture that champions life—Israel.

If Israel wanted to completely destroy Gaza, it would not take very long. Israel goes out of its way to warn the Palestinian citizens to get out while they can. Injured Palestinians routinely receive health care free of charge at Hadassah Hospital and other Israeli medical facilities.

Amazingly, Israel continues to provide gas and electric to the people who are shooting bombs at them. Did the British provide the Nazis with gas and electricity during WWII?

You know the answer.

Israel goes out of its way to avoid as much collateral damage as possible because Jewish ethics teach us to respect and cherish life—even the lives of our enemies. Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount:

  • ·         You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. [1]

What does this passage teach us? An Orthodox rabbi and Dead Sea Scroll scholar named Dr. Pinchas Lapide once explained to me that this passage teaches us how to de-hostilize an enemy.

It does not mean we have to be victims to gratuitous violence, but it does mean that we need to hold on to our collective sense of humanity. The Palestinians leadership uses billions of dollars to create shelters for their weapons and not their people. Israel spends billions of dollars to create shelters for their people.

One of my favorite Jewish philosophers and teachers, Eric Fromm, writes about two opposite impulses that are struggling for supremacy in the world. He refers to them as necrophilia vs biophilia.

He explains that necrophilia, or the “love of the dead” is an ideation that is attracted to everything that is dead, e.g., corpses, decay, filth, dirt. The goal of necrophilia as political and religious phenomena is to transform everything that is living into death. This is exactly what Jihadism is all about. It is a death-force that aims to destroy life as we know it for the glorification of Allah, who behaves more like the bloodthirsty deity of the Bible known as Molech.

Jihadists love saying, “We love death more than you love life”

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAOzy2zwyxo

The worse part of necrophilia is that the people this philosophy affects makes them totally indifferent to life and even attracted to death.

This would explain why being a martyr for Islam is so important. In the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians have museums celebrating the sacrifice of his human bombs; museums decorated with Israeli body parts across the wall.

Sounds like a museum made for Freddie Kruger.

Israel in contrast believes in what Fromm calls, “Biophilia” is the love of life, the attraction to everything that lives and grows. Preserving life and preventing death is one form of biophilia. Biophilous tendencies can be much more varied and tend to integrate and unite, to fuse with different and opposite. Biophilia is life that changes, grows, and develops to the changing circumstances of the environment. Fromm believed that for biophilia to emerge, there has to be certain circumstances to enhance its growth, e.g., the absence of injustice, the love of creativity, the presence of freedom, and the spirit to innovate.

In spiritual terms, biophilia encourages people to search for self-awareness, aspirations, and moral growth. Israel continues to develop technologies that improve the fabric of life while the Palestinian culture of death, which worships a god who loves shihads (martyrs) has produced a moral decadence that threatens the peace of humanity.

Let me add that any society is capable of embracing necrophilia. Last week, when some Israeli teenagers burned the body of a poor gay Palestinian boy, these individuals became Molech worshiper who demands the sacrifice of children to sate its savage appetite.

The time has come for the Palestinians and Israelis to work together and embrace a new paradigm of life that brings prosperity to all of its people.



[1] Matthew 5:38–42.



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