Today's Daf Yomi (Shabbat 54b-55a) presented a forthright and powerful ethical message:We are all culpable for our environment. We cannot claim that we are not interconnected with those who live in our home, our community, our town, or even our planet. It is our responsibility to raise our voices to protest when we see injustice, wrongdoing.
Anyone who is able to protest against the transgressions of one's household and does not, is punished for the actions of the members of the household; anyone who is able to protest against the transgressions of one's townspeople and does not, is punished for the transgressions of the townspeople; anyone who is able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does not is punished for the transgressions of the entire world.
This passage struck a deep chord, because I had been thinking about the incident that happened last week with Rav Lior. If you are not up to date, here is the story as reported (link):
Rabbi Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and one of the settler leaders, was surprised last week by the chilly reception he received from reserve soldiers stationed on the Gaza border.
One of the reserve soldiers called up by the IDF at start of Operation Pillar of Defense was Rabbi Lior's son-in-law, Efraim Ben-Shachar. Ahead of the weekend, shortly before the reservists were released, Ben-Shachar invited his father-in-law to meet with infantry fighters and support them with a Torah lesson following the arrival of many artists throughout the week.
But Rabbi Lior's visit sparked a row. Some of the unit's soldiers were outraged by the presence of the controversial rabbi, who had endorsed the "King's Torah" essay, which legitimizes the killing of non-Jews.
'Persona non grata'
According to one of the unit's soldiers, Omer Parter, an activist in the Working Youth movement, protested the rabbi's presence. Rabbi Lior tried to shake his hand, but he refused. When the rabbi asked, "Am I not allowed to speak to the soldiers?" Parter replied, "You are a persona non grata here."
As religious soldiers began gathering around the rabbi to listen to what he had to say, Prater told his comrades that Lior was one of the rabbis who gave their consent to the "King's Torah" book. Along with other soldiers, he searched for quotes from the book on his cell phone, including the permission to kill small children "if it is clear that they will grow up to pose a threat to our nation."
As tensions rose, Rabbi Lior decided to leave several minutes later without addressing the soldiers.
"I believe there is no room for Rabbi Lior's messages in the army," Prater told Ynet. "I oppose and condemn Rabbi Dov Lior's work and activities. I did stop him from speaking in light of his support for Baruch Goldstein and his conduct in the period before Rabin's murder. This is how I educate my pupils at the Working Youth – to love the land and practice equality, and not to hate anyone."
Amos Netzer, a friend of the protesting soldiers, wrote about the incident on his Facebook page: "I am proud of my friends who insisted on the truth, despite the harsh conflict with their comrades, exposing the true colors of one of the greatest instigators in Israel."
If violence is involved, that should be a clear line. I often wonder how we can hear so many reports about settlers cutting down Arab's trees and nobody has been arrested and put on trial. Either the reports are fabricated, or the police are inept, or worse -apathetic.Why have the perpetrators of "Tag Mechir" ("Price Tag") attack not been located and tried? The moderates condemn them but will the mainstream settler community actively eschew them?