Torah for Today – 31/10/2013

Torah for Today – 31/10/2013

SAMANTHA LEWTHWAITE is a British-Muslim convert, formerly married to the 7/7 suicide bomber who blew up King’s Cross station. She has become known as the “White Widow”.

She is now believed to be the UK brains behind the terrorist al-Shabab organisation, which murdered 62 people in the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. What does the Torah say about citizens who turn against their countries and support groups that perpetrate violence around the world? According to Torah, one’s first loyalty is to God. However a key element in that loyalty is not to bring disgrace upon the Divine – “Chilul Hashem”, and the effect will rebound on other Jews’ reputations as well.

Additionally, if a Jewish citizen in the name of Torah con- spired to kill non-combatants, the impression cast upon Jews would be that of traitors and enemies of the state. Working for the enemy is regarded as a serious crime in the Bible. David ordered Solomon to engineer the death of Joab, formerly his loyal commander, for supporting the rebellion of son Adoniyah against his father. In the time of Hezekiah, Rabshakeh spoke to the Jews of Jerusalem in Hebrew, as he was a Jew himself.

He is regarded as a turncoat for leading the Babylonian effort to try and vanquish Jerusalem. Some regard Josephus as a traitor for defecting with his army to the Romans. Killing innocents is a crime punishable in the extreme.

According to tradition, Doeg the Edomite was the head of King Saul’s Beth Din. He informed Saul that the chief priest of the priestly town of Nob had given David, the fugitive son-in-law of Saul, some bread and a sword for self-defence. On hearing this, Saul rounded up all the male priests and commanded Doeg to murder them all. Consequently, Doeg is one of four people mentioned in the Talmud who would never be allowed a share in the world to come.
In modern times, Anglo- Jewry has struggled to come to terms with its loyalties to Britain and its rule of Palestine. Once, when I was being interviewed by a journalist at the glorious Princes Road Synagogue, I explained that we read a prayer for the welfare of Queen and country. She retorted: “Yes, but if war were to break out between Britain and Israel, whom would you support?” I replied that Jewish citizens must decide both to live in Britain and not commit any act of aggression outside of lawful protest against it – or they should leave the country permanently.

Dual loyalties which harm innocents are indeed treacherous.

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