I make a point of not discussing “politics” in the Torah Minute.
In most cases, I don’t think Jewish tradition dictates a specific approach.
But I do feel the need to address the death of Yasser Arafat.
… The Jewish People were given a mission.
“To be a light unto the nations.”
We taught the world that there are certain absolutes.
And we’ve had the courage to tell the world, “No! This is wrong.”
It didn’t matter if it was a barbaric civilization. Or an “enlightened” one.
When the Greek’s let handicapped children die?
We said no!
And when the Romans went to the Coliseum?
We said no!
… And when we read the newspapers today? The tributes from world leaders?
It doesn’t matter what our “political views” are.
We need to say, “No”!
Yasser Arafat was evil. Period!
… I also wanted to comment on two “religious” statements you probably heard about.
One by our president. “May G-d bless his soul.”
And one by the Vatican. “May G-d grant eternal rest to his soul.”
Those are not Jewish ideas!
In Jewish tradition, there’s only one thing that decides the future of our soul.
How we live our lives! Nothing else.
Think of a close friend who lends you his brand new Jaguar.
What’s your biggest nightmare?
That you dent it!
You wouldn’t be able to face him. You would be humiliated.
And imagine if you totaled it?
… It’s that way with our soul. Our neshama.
G-d blessed us with a spark of the Divine. And eventually we have to return it.
And every time we sin? Hurt someone’s feelings? Or share some juicy gossip?
Smash. Another dent in our soul!
And if someone spends a lifetime killing thousands of innocent people?
Their soul is totaled!
And the pain of having to face G-d is the punishment!
… The best way to affirm our values?
By doing an extra act of kindness.
It will make our soul shine a little more!
All the best,