web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Rabbi Efrati: Dead Druze Soldier, Halachically, Not our ‘Brother’


The funeral for Majdi Halabi in the town of Daliyat al-Karmel.

The funeral for Majdi Halabi in the town of Daliyat al-Karmel.
Photo Credit: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv/Flash90

During the Friday funeral for Druze IDF soldier Majdi Halabi, Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz called Majdi Halabi “our brother.”

On the popular National-Religious site Serugim, a halachic question was posed to Rabbi Baruch Efrati, Rabbi of the Zayit Raanan shul in the town of Efrat, regarding the use of the term “brother” in reference to a non-Jew.

Rabbi Efrati responded that the Druze and Circassians (both are minority ethnic groups living in Israel) have chosen to share their destiny with the state of Israel. In return, Israel owes them a covenant of blood, which we do not violate it. Israel must be committed to their safety and welfare.

But the question was formulated in halachic terms, as to whether or not Jewish law permitted referring to them specifically as brothers, and according to Rabbi Efrati, the gemorah in tractate Sotah (41:) takes exception to using the word “brother” when referring to a non-Jew. The gemorah brings the case of King Agripas, who shed tears when he read the verse prohibiting making a non-Jew king of Israel. The sages then cried out to him: You are our brother, about which Rabbi Nathan said it was the cause for their annihilation, as flattery was substituted for the law.

So it would seem preferable not to use that term about the late Majdi Halabi.

Rabbi Efrati then expanded on the answer and said that since the Druze and Circassians are monotheists living in Israel and loyal to Israel, they have the halachic status of ‘Ger Toshav,’ a monotheistic resident, which might then allow the use of the “brother” reference, but again he concludes, based on an opinion of the Maharal of Prague, that the use of “Brother” would still be inappropriate.

Rabbi Efrati nevertheless concludes that Majdi Halabi died a ‘Holy Martyr,’ since he was serving in the IDF when he died and can be counted among the ‘Righteous of the Nations,’ and he is included in the “Av Harachamim” prayer in synagogue, and God will surely avenge his death.

But, while we are obligated to treat them with love, peace and friendship, the designation of “Brother” is not halachically prescribed, as he is not a Jew.

About the Author: JewishPress.com brings you the latest in Jewish news from around the world. Stay up to date by following up on Facebook and Twitter. Do you have something noteworthy to report? Submit your news story to us here.


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.

7 Responses to “Rabbi Efrati: Dead Druze Soldier, Halachically, Not our ‘Brother’”

  1. Anonymous says:

    That's a terrible headline. Much as you probably don't like it, many people read only the headlines. And this line, "Dead Druze soldier not our "brother" " is going to bring out all sorts of negative reactions to Rabbis, to Jews, and to Israel. The article explains & makes it clear that the soldier(obm) is held in high esteem, but the headline implies the opposite.

  2. I agree with chavazl as I did just that, but decided to read the article and found it didn't say that at all and in fact honoured this soldier. I think this heading should be removed.

  3. JoAnn Morris says:

    I felt the same way and was upset by the heading. But I do not have a problem with calling all people "brother." G-d did not tell us to view others differently just because their beliefs are different from ours. Shalom my brothers.

  4. Charlie Hall says:

    I also was offended when I read the title…and then I read the article. The title implies that Rabbi Efrati does not appreciate the sacrifices made by non-Jewish citizens of Israel…and after reading the article, I realized that nothing could be further from the truth! The title REALLY needs to be changed.

  5. Toviah Moldwin says:

    There's a reason why Rabbi Natan in that story is a da'at yachid. Sometimes it's necessary (for PR purposes if nothing else) to be a little loose with the technical halacha and halachic terminology when the situation calls for it. The end of the story with Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, with Zecharya ben Avkulos, is a similar situation.

    I'm not saying that Rabbi Efrati did anything wrong, but with journalism being what it is these days, it pays to be very careful what you say in public forums. Unfortunately, some of us (including myself) have had to learn that lesson the hard way…

  6. Yossie Bloch says:

    The Torah scroll was handed to King Agrippa, who read it standing. The sages praised him for this. When he read (Deut. 17:15) “You may not put a foreigner over you as king,” his eyes ran with tears, but they said to him, “Don’t fear, Agrippa, you are our brother, you are our brother! (Mishna, Sota 7:8)

  7. Jeff Eyges says:

    This is the sort of question with which the bearded wonders choose to occupy themselves. A better one would be, "How do we rid our subculture of the sinat chinam that has come to characterize it so pervasively?"

    But that, of course, would require introspection.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
US has no problem with Egypt's bombing hundreds of homes of Gaza civilians but can't stand to see Israel destroy a terrorist's home.
Gaza: Egypt Responsible For Weapons Shortage
Latest News Stories
U.S. President Barack Obama

Obama to maintain phased-in sanctions relief pegged to compliance; he’ll give Iran a huge signing bonus instead!

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at the scene where a Shalom Yochai Sherki was killed and Shira Klein was injured when an Arab crashed his car crashed into a bus station at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem on April 15.

She is unconscious and on a respirator at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.

Philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman died on Friday at the age of 91.

Alfred Taubman, who helped shopping in the United States by developing malls, died of a heart attack while at home on Friday, He was 91. Taubman was known for philanthropy, especially in his native Michigan, where was a large contributor to the Detroit Institute of Arts. “Al Taubman changed the way America shops. But his […]

S300

In the past, both Russia and Israel stopped their weapons sales to avoid excess friction between the countries. Not anymore.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited on Saturday night the grave of Yoni Netanyahu, the leader and lone IDF casualty in the rescue mission at Entebbe in 1976. They visited the grave at the Mt. Herzl Cemetery at night instead of on Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars this week […]

Is Afghanistan becoming another country that US has made safe for the Islamic State?

This could be a lead-up to a joint ground operation in Yemen against the Iranian backed Houthis.

Netanyahu’s “humanitarian considerations” are a euphemism for political considerations.”

The hackers used easily downloadable, but sophisticated, hacking tools to do the job, rather than requiring any in-house technical knowledge.

The wannabe terrorist wanted to be arrested more than he actually wanted to stab the soldier.

Israeli workers raise a large Star of David (Magen David) onto the “Harp Bridge” at the entrance of Jerusalem on April 17, 2015, in honor of Israel’s upcoming Israel’s Memorial Day and the 67th Independence Day. Israel will mark its 67th Independence Day on April 22, 2015.

First thwarted at the Israeli polls, now V15 funder’s “healthy” bars are also losers.

She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.

The EU wants to label Settler products. Liberman want to remind them of the last time they labeled Jews.

A pro-BDS professor at Sydney University may face disciplinary action over his conduct at lecture where anti-Israelis disrupted a speech by retired British Col. Richard Kemp, who has often praised  the IDF for its morality while fighting terror. The university issued a “show cause” letter to Prof. Jake Lynch, according to The Australian. Jewish students […]

Liberman is adamantly insisting on receiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but Netanyahu wants Liberman to step back and take something else.

More Articles from Jewish Press News Briefs
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat at the scene where a Shalom Yochai Sherki was killed and Shira Klein was injured when an Arab crashed his car crashed into a bus station at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem on April 15.

She is unconscious and on a respirator at Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.

Philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman died on Friday at the age of 91.

Alfred Taubman, who helped shopping in the United States by developing malls, died of a heart attack while at home on Friday, He was 91. Taubman was known for philanthropy, especially in his native Michigan, where was a large contributor to the Detroit Institute of Arts. “Al Taubman changed the way America shops. But his […]

In the past, both Russia and Israel stopped their weapons sales to avoid excess friction between the countries. Not anymore.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara visited on Saturday night the grave of Yoni Netanyahu, the leader and lone IDF casualty in the rescue mission at Entebbe in 1976. They visited the grave at the Mt. Herzl Cemetery at night instead of on Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars this week […]

This could be a lead-up to a joint ground operation in Yemen against the Iranian backed Houthis.

The hackers used easily downloadable, but sophisticated, hacking tools to do the job, rather than requiring any in-house technical knowledge.

A pro-BDS professor at Sydney University may face disciplinary action over his conduct at lecture where anti-Israelis disrupted a speech by retired British Col. Richard Kemp, who has often praised  the IDF for its morality while fighting terror. The university issued a “show cause” letter to Prof. Jake Lynch, according to The Australian. Jewish students […]

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry calls the Shoah “the most painful and horrific chapter in human history.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rabbi-efrati-dead-druze-soldier-not-our-brother/2012/10/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: