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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Arafat is Dead

The father of modern terrorism has died and instead of dancing in the street, many Jews are wondering what is the proper reaction to the death of a man who's primary focus in life was the destruction of the State of Israel (in my opinion).

Biur Chametz blogs the following:

Simcha from Hirhurim has addressed this question recently (here and here). Simcha (not his real name), an Orthodox rabbi by ordination though not by profession, discusses halachic issues, but not for purposes of psak; "Consult your rabbi before following any practices advocated here," he warns.

Simcha brings various sources to argue that one should not rejoice at Arafat's death. To summarize very briefly, he argues:

1) That one rejoices in the enemy's downfall only when it follows the salvation of Israel from its enemies; this is not the case today. "Our enemies are still very much alive and powerful."

2) That only the pure of heart is prepared to rejoice in the destruction of the wicked; one must be motivated by love of God, not pleasure in another's calamity; this requires a lofty spiritual status which we lack today.

3) That while it is good when evildoers die, it would be better had they repented. We should not rejoice in this.

4) That the Israelites rejoiced at the Red Sea because they were personally saved from Egypt by a miracle. "Applying this to our current situation, no one is being saved by a miracle when a terrorist like Arafat lives to the ripe old age of 70+ and then dies of natural causes. This is not a miracle and no one is saved by this."

I'm following Meryl's lead and donating $25 to Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency medical organization.

Why not celebrate life yourself and make a donation to a life-saving organization.