(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 13:10:46 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Violence In The Torah?

<  <  I am having a difficult time understanding why the Torah exhibits so much
apparent violence and cruelty?>  >

Here is a rule of thumb which will answer MOST of your questions: G-d has
infinite mercy and does not punish anyone with cruelty unless they are
thoroughly wicked and refuse to repent.

Example 1: Pharoh was warned by prophets to let the Jews go but continued
to torture them. One example of torture is a skin disease he had. To cure
himself he bathed in the blood of Jewish babies. Need I say more?

The great Jewish philosopher Gersonidees (RALBAG) said "The mercy to the
wicked is cruelty to the Righteous"---G-d **had** to be cruel to Pharoh.

Example 2: Sedom and Gemorrah tortured anyone who gave charity. See for
yourself. The Bible **explicitly** describes how the city people came to
homosexually rape the 2 guests that were offered hospitality by Lot (Gen
19:1-5). The Bible explicitly states that G-d could not even find 10
righteous people in the cities (Gen 18:23-33).  Again, G-d **had** to be
cruel to Sedom and Gemarrah.

Example 3: Purim is coming up. Was the bloodbath justified there? But the
megillah explicitly states that the King had consented to allow wanton
destruction of all Jewish people (for only $10,000 silver talents Est3:9).
In fact Ester explicitly stated "If they only wanted us as slaves we would
not ask for our freedom (Est 7:4)."  Furthermore Ester's request to rescind
the edict allowing destruction of the Jews was DENIED by the King (who
NEVER rescinded any decrees (Es 8:8). So what choice did they have but to
kill all enemies of the Jews. True they killed 75,000 people who were
enemies of the Jews but is it our fault if we have so many enemies!? (Est

Enough said for now. Let us end on a pleasant note---the Torah's highways
are pleasant highways and her side roads are peaceful. (Proverbs 3:17)

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; Math Towson University
Moderator Rashi Is Simple;http://www.shamash.org/rashi/