web analytics
July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Jewish Blood Is Not Cheap

Although the Torah often points out the infinite value of every human life, this week’s parshah gives a clear message about the value of Jewish life. We are told that no one will be permitted to murder Jews with impunity.

In the Shirat Hayam (Song at the Sea), Moses and the Jewish people use three expressions to describe the downfall of the Egyptians. The Egyptians drowning in the sea are described as “they descended in the depths like stone” (Exodus 15:5). In a second expression, Moses describes the defeat of the Egyptians in the following manner: “You sent forth Your wrath it consumes them like straw” (Exodus 15:7). There is one other image used to portray the drowning: The Jews sing out that “they sank as lead in the mighty waters” (Exodus 15:10).

One could claim these phrases seem contradictory. Did the Egyptians sink like stone, like straw or like lead? Which was it?

Rashi notes that these variant similes are descriptive of different Egyptians who were punished in accordance with what they deserved. The most wicked were tossed around like weightless straw – they were allowed to brutally suffer. The best of the group drowned like lead, which of course sinks immediately, so they suffered the least. Those who did not fall into any clear category sank like stones.

What emerges from Rashi is the precision of punishment; moreover, the clear statement that those who were guilty of oppressing and murdering Jews would receive their due.

In 1956 Rabbi Yosef B. Soloveitchik wrote that with the establishment of the State of Israel, “God…suddenly manifested Himself.” One such manifestation was that “Jewish blood is not free for taking, is not hefker” (Kol Dodi Dofek).

With the establishment of the state, Rav Soloveitchik declared, one could sense God’s presence in that Jews would be protected. No one would be able to spill blood in Israel without a strong response. The Jewish community in Israel was sending a message to Jews in the exile who felt more vulnerable: “Don’t be afraid.”

Even as we seek peace, Jewish life is precious. One can only hope that Israel will find peace while keeping true to the principle of “Jewish blood is not cheap.”

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founding president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. His memoir of the Soviet Jewry movement, “Open Up the Iron Door,” was recently published by Toby Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Jewish Blood Is Not Cheap”

  1. Hayim Curiel says:

    yes theJjewish blood is not cheap so we pray for Israel will find peace and keeping and by gloey of the lord God ofIsrael

  2. Ronny Mol says:

    Why didn't you talk about the fact that there are NO palestinians. Before TV, where is the history of the palestinians. There is NONE. No palestinian kings, no ancient cities, zero. This is the BIG lie of the generation. Who are you supposed to have peace with? As a Rabbi, you should be the first one to speak out about this BIG lie.

  3. Cody Flecker says:

    What planet do you live on Rabbi Weiss? Israel is releasing numerous murderers in an attempt to appease a people that are set to destroy you and you state that Jewish blood is not cheap? If you were not a Rabbi I would call you an*******

  4. He's a Rabbi, people. He's not in charge of Israeli defenses or as a fact-checker for every untruth out there. He's simply stating that Jewish blood is not cheap and there will be retribution. You guys seriously expect a Rabbi to balance the scales for us? You want him to come out calling for war against all who've drawn Jewish blood? Even if he did that and Israel defeated all enemies, it would only cover a few drops of the billions upon billions that have fallen. If you expect redemption to happen solely through fiery words and bloodied swords, you should spend more time listening to a Rabbi and less time criticizing one.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A minaret seen towering over the Mediterranean sea, near Tel Aviv-Yafo / Jaffa. (file)
EU Receives Warning ISIS Infiltrating Among Migrants
Latest Judaism Stories
17th_of_Tammuz_(medium)_(english)

17th of Tammuz: Beginning 3 weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Essential principle of arguments for Heaven’s sake is recognizing no 1 person has monopoly on truth

It becomes clear that the problem the Jewish people faced wasn’t temporary but endemic to its core

Mitzvot, even restrictive laws, often teach self-discipline which is a venue to freedom.

Torah learning is valueless unless it enhances personal morality, fostering closer connection to God

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Torah hints to a divided Jerusalem that will become a city without walls forever united

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/jewish-blood-is-not-cheap/2014/01/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: