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Per Deuteronomy 21, when a corpse is found in the wilderness, an elaborate ceremony ensues that is clearly intended to disrupt the regular routines of the townspeople living nearby. The judges and elders determine which city is closest to the crime scene, and the elders of that city take a young calf, which has never been yoked, to a dismal valley, which could never sustain agricultural life, where they break the calf's neck. The Levites then arrive to observe the elders washing their hands over the bloody calf and declaring, "Our hands did not spill this blood, nor did our eyes perceive it. Therefore, God, forgive your people Israel, whom You redeemed, and do not allow innocent blood to flow amongst your nation, and let this blood atone for them."
Throughout Jewish history, we have unfortunately grown accustomed to ransoming our people from being held hostage by many evil empires.
As we report elsewhere this week, the Prime Minister of Romania has announced that the deadline for filing claims for restitution payments for those who once held property in pre-war Romania is November 14, 2001.
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