I’ve been reading a really good book lately. The Case for Judaism, it’s not a very large book and is quite readable. It covers several different topics, but the one that I’m thinking of right now is on laws, government, voting and freedom. How perspectives on what is right and what is wrong can change with time. America is a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles which came from the Torah given on Mt. Sinai, we just celebrated Chag Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the giving on the Torah.
One topic in the book is about the role of Torah and another on Defining Morality. It points out that Torah, is a teaching book, not a history book. Torah is spelled תורה and teacher is spelled מורה thus they share the same root Torah and Morah or Moray depending on if its a female or male teacher. It’s laws for a society to have a decent civilization that can lead to peace, prosperity and fairness. The Torah hasn’t changed since it was given. My understanding may change as I learn more and study, but Torah doesn’t. G-d’s word stands solid.
Compare that to man’s laws. If we go only by those, in the section of Defining Morality, we can see that those change depending on who is ruling, or in charge at the time. What is evil or good, what is acceptable or unacceptable varies. Man (and woman) change their mind from time to time, chocolate bar or Hershey’s kisses? These are variable choices. While the author doesn’t get into the debate of abortion right or wrong, moral or immoral, he uses it to point out that sixty years ago it was considered immoral and wrong. Now it is considered wrong to take away a woman’s right to choose. A few thousand years ago throwing people to lions to be eaten alive in front of Roman crowds was a day of wholesome fun for the whole family, kids and all. Today unless we are talking about progressives and the media treating conservatives in such a manner, that sort of thing is frowned upon. The author suggests that man’s flip-flopping moral code is the result of man deciding what he wants and what is best for himself at that time. G-d’s law, is not changeable.
Do not kill.
Around 20th April this year, a 49 year old Grandmother, Anji Rhys, used a crossbow to defend her family. She’s being called Grandbo. Her hobby is shooting her crossbow in her garden. She feels it to be relaxing, and since Britain is basically one big gun-free (except for the criminals) zone, she liked the idea of having something for self-defense. A pack of machete wielding yobs kicked in their door and came at her and another resident demanding their stash of weed. I guess they thought you could explain to them they were at the wrong “joint”. Yeah, sorry. Since they are unable to have a gun to defend themselves, Anji originally grabbed the crossbow to keep them from getting and deploying the quarrel or bolt. She ended up discharging the 6 inch quarrel into one of the machete wielding intruders. But, I suppose you could hear it straight from her.
I guess you could say she used a quarrel to settle the quarrel. I know, that’s twice.
I found a couple of her statements to be rather frightening.
‘A crossbow is a one shot thing and then it’s useless. After that I tried to throw it through the window to raise an alarm but it got caught in the curtains like a goalie net.
Since there were 3 others, that would be pretty disconcerting for me. One shot and done? Yesh. The other kind of had me scratching my head.
‘I think all of us should have something you can strike back with. Not necessarily a weapon. I think the best defence is CCTV.
Huh? Say what? Do you….throw it at them??
The police do not yet have them in custody but they did let Anji keep her crossbow and told her well done, her family is all okay and her 82 year old Mom slept through it. This was around 20th April.
And…on the 14th of May this year. Deadly crossbows sold on High Street without need for a licence or background checks. Gasp, sharp inhaling through the teeth, with the slow whistling exhale.
DEADLY assault rifle-style crossbows are available on high streets and online without any need for a licence or background checks. Today the Daily Express launches a crusade calling on the Government to crack down on the sale of the potentially lethal weapons which can be bought without having to give details of identity or a reason for their use.
We were able to visit a shop yards from one of Britain’s busiest city centre high streets and buy a high-velocity 175lb Panther crossbow which boasts the promise “Built for power”.
The terrifying weapon, bought in Leeds, is capable of hitting a target with its aluminium-pointed bolts at 500 yards.
Like many other brands it comes with a telescopic sight to make aiming easier and is designed to be as straightforward as possible to shoot.
Experts say they are more powerful than some air rifles that have to be licensed.
Ok, now this is my shocked face.
MPs have backed the Daily Express campaign and urged the Government to ban the deadly “sporting devices” saying there was “no reason” for them to be on sale to the general public.
Last week Rachael Maskell, 45, MP for York Central, penned a letter to the new home secretary Sajid Javid urging tough rules be introduced to stop their easy availability.
They were astonished, astonished I say to find that you could buy smaller versions of them as…..wait for it, toys. History of the crossbow.
Man’s laws and opinions. At one time the crossbow was a perfectly respectable device and part of Britain’s history. The media and their government can’t get rid of that fast enough. I wonder if the Sheriff of Nottingham is still in charge?
Less than a month after a woman uses a crossbow to defend 4 innocent lives from 4 machete wielding yobs the media and apparently the “rulers” of the subjects are incensed that people have access to this deadly device. Apparently the media and some Members of Parliament have more concern and mercy for the thugs than innocent people just sitting home watching their tellys.
In light of the above, it is surprising to find the following law in the Torah (derived from Deuteronomy 22:26): Habah l’hargecha hashkem l’hargo — “If someone is coming to kill you, rise against him and kill him first.” (This law applies equally to someone coming to kill someone else — you’re obligated to kill the murderer in order to save his intended victim.)
This law seems to contradict the principle of life’s infinite value. If no life can be deemed less valuable that any other, what makes the victim’s life more valuable than the murderer’s life? Furthermore, this rule applies to anyone who is “coming to kill you” — he hasn’t even done anything yet! Maybe he won’t succeed? Maybe he’ll change his mind? Nor does the law say anything about trying to run away. It says: If someone is coming to kill you, rise against him and kill him first.
The same Torah that tells us that G‑d placed a spark of Himself in every human being, thereby bestowing upon his or her physical existence a G‑dly, infinite worth — that same Torah also tells us that G‑d has granted free choice to every person. Including the choice — and the power — to corrupt his or her G‑d-given vitality and turn it against itself, using it to destroy life. A person can choose to turn himself into a murderer — someone who is prepared to destroy life in order to achieve his aims. In which case he is no longer a life, but an anti-life.
To kill an anti-life is not a life-destroying act, it is a life-preserving act. It is not a violation of the commandment “Do not kill,” but its affirmation. Without the law, “If someone is coming to kill you, rise against him and kill him first,” the principle of life’s infinite value is nothing more than an empty slogan, a mere idea.
Judaism is not an idea. It is a way of life — G‑d’s ideas made real.
Emphasis mine. For some reason, much of the media and elected officials seem far more concerned with the lives and well being of the criminals than those of the law-abiding. This is not just a British phenomena either.
I believe I will go with Torah on this.