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A dominant theme of both ancient Hebrew and subsequent Jewish culture is the Holy Atrocity. The ancient Hebrews, most often acting upon direct orders from LORD God, exterminated entire ethnic groups, tribes and nationalities. Men, women, children, and livestock were slaughtered, cities burned, and artwork destroyed. Sometimes LORD God directed the Hebrews to massacre each other, and sometimes others attacked LORD God's people. (26)
The Holy Atrocity is relevant to today's political situation in the Middle East and the role America will play: The Holy Atrocity is advocated as a political solution. One of the advocates is Washington, DC lawyer Nathan Lewin, who represents Orthodox Jewish interest groups in high-profile legal disputes. In an article published in May 2002 in the opinion magazine Shma.com, Lewin called for the massacre of families of Palestinians accused of suicide bombing. He introduces the subject with these words:
What if Israel and the United States announced that henceforth the perpetrators of all suicide attacks would be treated as if they had brought their parents and brothers and sisters with them to the site of the explosion?
— Nathan Lewin (8)
We encountered Lewin before when he submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the US death penalty is cruelly inflicted, and that the US should emulate the humanitarian death penalty principles contained in the Talmud. (35) Lewin also argued that the death penalty was rarely used in Talmud law. We found a number of flaws in Lewin's presentation — for example, he failed to tell the Supreme Court about a Talmud law that mandates the annihilation of entire tribes, towns, and cities in one fell swoop.
(Note: In the following Talmud excerpts, we sometime omit footnotes and non-germane text. Omitted text is indicated by an ellipsis (…). The full text and the footnotes are accessible through the link that follows the excerpt, along with the text of the entire tractate. Now, at Come and Hear™, you can judge the Talmud in context.)
MISHNAH. … A TRIBE … CAN ONLY BE TRIED BY A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE … NO CITY CAN BE DECLARED CONDEMNED SAVE BY A DECREE OF A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE. A FRONTIER TOWN CANNOT BE CONDEMNED NOR THREE CITIES AT A TIME, BUT ONLY ONE OR TWO.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 2a
Soncino 1961 Edition, pages 2-3
For the full text of this Mishnah, see the Appendix A: Mishnah of Sanhedrin 2a.
In his Shma.com article, Lewin asks a tough question and answers it.
… Finally, can Jewish law and tradition accept this seeming punishment of innocents? The Torah commanded the total eradication — including woman and children — of certain nations (Amalek being a singular illustration) because of the continuing threat its members presented to the survival of Israel. When there is no other deterrent, self-defense entitles one to take measures that are ordinarily unacceptable.
— Nathan Lewin (8)
So then, innocent men, women, and children would be slaughtered whenever Israel accuses one of their relations of a suicide bombing attack. Along with Lewin's article, Shma.com published an opposition piece written by Rabbi Arthur Green, who is a historian of Jewish religion, Professor of Jewish Thought at Brandeis University, and a former dean and president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Green had the task of explaining why slaughter of the innocent is not a Jewish solution. Green grabs the moral high ground, claiming he — not Lewin — is on the side of traditional Judaism.
Although I am not as pious as Nathan Lewin, I still have some pretty old-fashioned Jew-ish instincts. My first desire on reading Lewin's essay was to rayz kri'ah, tear my garments, as a sign of mourning on hearing the desecration of God's name. Can we really have come to this? A well-respected spokesman for law, ethics, and Jewish tradition proposes that we (the government of Israel, that is, the one he would like to see operating on Torah-based principles) execute the families of suicide bombers. Devoting all of six words to the struggle of conscience ("This is no easy ethical question …"), he goes on to justify his proposal by reference to the Torah's command to eradicate Amalek and the Canaanite peoples. I only wonder how long it will take him, by the force of this proof-text, to go all the way and suggest that the Palestinian nation as a whole has earned the fate of Amalek. After all, "when there is no other deterrent …"
— Rabbi Green (9)
In arguing that Jewish tradition does not support the massacre of the innocent, Rabbi Green refers to one of Israel's oldest and most celebrated massacres: the annihilation of the Amaleks — men, women, and children. (14) But Rabbi Green's most memorable statement is this:
The Jewish tradition's most essential moral teaching, that every human being is the image of God, must not fall victim to the bleak times through which we are living.
— Rabbi Green (9)
Understandably, Rabbi Green does not refer to the Sanhedrin 2a massacre doctrine when countering Lewin's arguments. Instead, he gives the impression that, according to Jewish tradition, all people have equal worth. But in fact the Talmud Jewish tradition assigns permanent underclass status to non-Jews. We have reviewed these Talmud laws (or traditions, to use Rabbi Green's words) in Talmud v. US Law.
Rabbi Green did not cite his sources, so we cannot examine his references in their original contexts. As we point out in Critical Words of Talmud Study and Really, Really Kosher Sex, Jewish religious tradition, arising from its Kabbalistic nature, comfortably incorporates contradictions. A polemicist is free to choose whichever teaching suits his target audience and represent it as "Jewish tradition."
But since, according to so many experts, the Talmud is the Word of God, the basic book of Jewish law, and the foundation of Jewish culture, (20) we will be examining the doctrines of the Talmud; and because the Talmud massacre laws cite Old Testament law, we will review Old Testament law, too.
In the following, a "seduced city" is one where the residents were formerly Jews, but have now taken up another religion.
MISHNAH. THE FOLLOWING ARE DECAPITATED: A MURDERER, AND THE INHABITANTS OF A SEDUCED CITY.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 76b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 518
Recall that, according to Talmud's Jewish tradition, "idolatry" does not necessarily entail worshipping idols. Non-Talmudic Jews have, from time to time, been designated idolaters (see Critical Words of Talmud Study: "Old Testament Believers Labeled Idolaters" ). And Christians are certainly considered idolaters (see America's New Government Church ).
The theme of annihilating the residents of a seduced city is picked up again in Sanhedrin 111b, included in full as Appendix B: Mishnah of Sanhedrin 111b. Here is a key excerpt:
MISHNAH. THE INHABITANTS OF A SEDUCED CITY HAVE NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME, AS IT IS WRITTEN, CERTAIN MEN, THE CHILDREN OF BELIAL, ARE GONE OUT FROM AMONG YOU, AND HAVE WITHDRAWN THE INHABITANTS OF THEIR CITY.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 111b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 765
Sanhedrin 111b is based on Deuteronomy 13:12-16.
- If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
- Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
- Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
- Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
- And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
— Deuteronomy 13:12-16 (KJV)
Under the Old Testament system of law, there is no freedom of religion. On the other hand, life is simple: worship Yahweh or die.
The Talmud Sages revise this Old Testament law by admitting of certain exceptions. Sanhedrin 111b continues in this vein:
MISHNAH. … THEY ARE NOT EXECUTED UNLESS THE SEDUCERS ARE OF THAT CITY AND THAT TRIBE, AND THE MAJORITY THEREOF ARE SEDUCED, AND THE SEDUCERS ARE MEN. IF WOMEN OR MINORS SEDUCED IT, IF A MINORITY WERE SEDUCED, OR IF THE SEDUCERS WERE FROM WITHOUT THE CITY, THEY ARE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS, AND TWO WITNESSES AND A FORMAL WARNING ARE NECESSARY FOR EACH [OFFENDER].
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 111b
Soncino 1961 Edition, pages 765-766
The Mishnah continues with the Deuteronomy hardline and Talmudic revisions. Following the Mishnah, the Gemara continues for many pages, seeking exceptions to the Divine commandment of Deuteronomy, whereby the law would not apply or could not be applied as written.
R. Simeon b. Yochai (38) is identified by name in the latter half of the Mishnah, declaring the holy, sacrificial nature of this atrocity, as follows:
MISHNAH. … MULTITUDES ARE DECAPITATED; HENCE THEIR POSSESSIONS ARE DESTROYED. … R. SIMEON SAID: THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, DECLARED, IF YE EXECUTE JUDGMENT UPON THE SEDUCED CITY, I WILL ASCRIBE MERIT TO YOU AS THOUGH YE HAD SACRIFICED TO ME A WHOLE OFFERING. AND IT SHALL BE A HEAP FOR EVER.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 111b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 767
Commenting on Chapter XI of the Sanhedrin (containing folio 111b), Talmud scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz states that Chapter XI fills in the picture of Jewish existence with respect to faith. His concluding remarks may be summarized as follows: An idolatrous city never did happen and never could happen, but if it did, the Sanhedrin 111b response would be correct.
The figures described lived in the past, but in various forms they are eternal types, and they offer a warning for the future.
The laws governing an idolatrous city must be seen in the same light. True the Sages said that an idolatrous city has never existed and will never exist, but the laws governing an idolatrous city constitute a constant warning on how far one must go to preserve the spiritual health of the Jewish Commonwealth, and it shows the rigor with which one must act to prevent degeneration and descent to the low level of entire generations which lost both this world and the World to Come.
Therefore, this chapter complements the picture of the Jewish commonwealth, going beyond matters of individual and law and order and becoming an expression of all Judaism.
— Rabbi Steinsaltz (27)
While denying any historical application, Rabbi Steinsaltz endorses the policy and the principle behind the policy — he endorses the death penalty for non-conforming Jews. Rabbi Steinsaltz is a winner of Israel's prestigious Israel Prize.
For some, it is easy to blame the Talmud, but difficult to acknowledge the roots of unpleasant Talmud doctrines in the Old Testament. For example, consider this remark from one contemporary Talmud critic:
"For true Jews there is only one divinely-inspired book, not the Talmud! The Bible liberates, the Talmud enslaves."
While this statement may satisfy some who call themselves Christians, it does not serve the truth. We have just seen that the "Bible" — that is, the Old Testament — threatens death to Jews who adopt another religion. In what sense, then, does the Bible "liberate"?
If the Old Testament is a Divinely-inspired book, one must wonder at the nature of the Divine. Here is a partial list of Holy Atrocities in the Bible, excerpted from In His Own Image. Numbers are for ease of reference only, with no other significance.
In Exodus 12:12-14, we saw that LORD God ordered the ancient Hebrews to celebrate His slaying of the firstborn of Egypt "forever." Jews commemorate the event as Passover.
Another Biblically reported massacre is the Feast of Purim. An entire tractate of the Talmud, Tractate Megillah, is devoted to prescriptions for its observance. Soncino Talmud translator Maurice Simon explains:
The tractate Megillah, as its name indicates, in concerned primarily with the Book of Esther — its place in the liturgy and its interpretation. It begins by fixing the various days on which the Megillah is to be read in order to commemorate the miracle of Purim.
— Maurice Simon (2)
The Purim event is thought to have taken place in 474 B.C. in the Persian Empire. During this time, Jews were scattered among the people of all the other races. Chapters 1 and 2 of the Book of Esther do not mention any problems between Jews and Gentiles in the Empire. We do, however, learn that King Ahasuerus is married to Queen Esther, and that Esther has kept secret from the king the fact that she is Jewish on the instructions of her cousin Mordecai.
Then in Chapter 3, Mordecai violates Persian law by refusing to bow to Haman, the king's Grand Vizier. This was a public insult and a challenge to Haman (Esther 3:4). Given that his cousin was queen of the Persian Empire and a Jew, Mordecai's motives are open to question. Though reminded daily by the royal officials of his duty, Mordecai continues to flout the law and tells them that he is a Jew. By his actions, Mordecai puts the Jews in mortal danger, but holds a secret trump card — his cousin Queen Esther.
- After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
- And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence.
- Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment?
- Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
- And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
- And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
- In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
- And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
- If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
— Esther 3:1-9 (KJV)
In verses 9 and 10, Mordecai asks the king to sign a decree for the destruction of the Jews, and the king agrees.
Let us review what we have learned so far:
Sometimes defenders of Mordecai claim that he refused to bow to Haman because Jews do not bow to anyone but LORD God. Even a brief examination of the Old Testament proves this statement wrong. Many G-dly Hebrews bowed to each other and to kings. Our short list includes these:
Sometimes defenders of Mordecai claim that bowing was Haman's whim. Verse 2 clearly indicates that "the king had so commanded." Sometimes defenders of Mordecai claim that only the king's servants were required to bow. Whether Mordecai was a "servant" or a subject of the king is a distinction without a difference: the king's servants clearly understood the king's orders, and it was they, not Haman, who first noticed Mordecai's disobedience and attempted to correct him (verse 3).
Let's keep these points in mind and return to the Purim story.
Mordecai's cousin, Queen Esther, queen of the Persian Empire, is secretly Jewish. Palace intrigue leaves Mordecai and Esther with the upper hand, and Haman is deposed and hanged. The king gives to Esther the estates of Haman (Esther 8:1), and to Mordecai the royal signet ring (Esther 8:2). Mordecai writes a proclamation in the king's name, permitting the Jews in every city to kill anyone who might assault them — and, as usual, to kill the women and children. Mordecai's order authorizes the Jews to plunder the property of the victims (Esther 8:11).
- And he wrote in the king Ahasuerus' name, and sealed it with the king's ring, and sent letters by posts on horseback, and riders on mules, camels, and young dromedaries:
- Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,
Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
— Esther 8:10-12
The slaughter goes forward as planned, but inexplicably, the Jews refrain from plunder. The Jewish Encyclopedia presents this account:
Before the day set for the slaughter arrived a great number of persons, in order to avoid the impending disaster, became Jewish proselytes, and a great terror of the Jews spread all over Persia.
The Jews, assisted by the royal officers who feared the king, were eminently successful in slaying their enemies but refused to avail themselves of their right to plunder. The queen, not content with a single day's slaughter, then requested the king to grant to her people a second day of vengeance, and begged that the bodies of Haman's ten sons, who had been slain in the fray, be hanged on the gibbet. Esther and Mordecai, acting with 'all authority', then founded the yearly feast of Purim, held on the fourteenth and fifteenth of Adar as a joyous commemoration of the deliverance of their race.
— Jewish Encyclopedia (3)
The Book of Esther (Esther 9:12) tells us that on the first day of the slaughter 500 men were slain in the capital, and an unstated number in ten other cities. Esther 9:15-16 tells us that, on the second day of slaughter, 300 were killed in the capital and 75,000 were killed in the other cities.
Let us consider Esther's situation. She is the Queen, responsible for the welfare of her subjects; she is not a private citizen. After Haman is deposed, Esther has a choice. She has a wonderful opportunity to show the true mettle of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. She could be magnanimous in victory; surely no harm could come to the Jewish community, as the King and his army are at her disposal. Here is a chance for the Jews to be truly a light unto nations. (see Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 51:4, Isaiah 60:3)
But Esther could also use her power and position to take revenge on the powerless.
What does Esther do? Esther chooses to take revenge, thereby reinforcing a negative stereotype of the Jewish character.
One is reminded of Dr. Abraham Cohen's words, when he wrote so admiringly of the leadership of Ezra, and the "frontier of fire:"
History, which is largely a record of the melting of minorities in majorities, records no instance of the survival of a group not segregated in space or not protected by a burning faith as by a frontier of fire … If, then, the Jewish nation was to be preserved, it must be ringed round "by a burning faith as by a frontier of fire" …
The Jew must have a religion which would not only continually distinguish him from the heathen, but would likewise be a constant reminder to him that he was a member of the Jewish race and faith. The Jew was to be demarcated from his neighbors not merely be a creed, but by a mode of living. His manner of worship would be different; his home would be different; even in the common acts of daily life there would be distinguishing features which would constantly recall his Jewishness.
— Rev. Dr. Cohen (7)
Perhaps the Feast of Purim is one such "frontier of fire." Let us see how Jewish leadership has managed this event through the millennia.
Consider the Purim episode from the Jewish viewpoint. According to the Book of Esther, the Jews and Gentiles were not at odds before Mordecai publicly flouted the king's law, demonstrated a rebellious attitude, and flaunted the word "JEW." After Haman was hanged, King Ahasuerus gave Esther and Mordecai enormous power. If Jews believe King Ahasuerus' actions were righteous, Purim could be a celebration of a Gentile king. Jews could condemn Mordecai's lawlessness and deliberate provocation of Haman — provocation that put the Jews in mortal danger. Instead, they choose to memorialize Haman as the prototypical villainous Gentile of all time, and celebrate Mordecai and Esther as heroes.
They choose to celebrate hatred.
During Purim festivities, the book of Esther is read and the audience boos, hisses, and uses noisemakers to drown out the name of Haman whenever he is mentioned in the text. There is a lavish feast with plenty of wine. The Talmud Sages encourage Jews to get drunk and to engage in a Bacchanalia:
GEMARA. … Raba said: It is the duty of a man to mellow himself [with wine] on Purim until he cannot tell the difference between 'cursed be Haman' and 'blessed be Mordecai.'
Rabbah and R. Zera joined together in a Purim feast. They became mellow, and Rabbah arose and cut R. Zera's throat. On the next day he prayed on his behalf and revived him. Next year he said, Will your honour come and we will have the Purim feast together. He replied: A miracle does not take place on every occasion.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Megillah 7b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 38
Along with memorializing Haman's villainy, Purim celebrates the slaughter of the Persian Gentiles as a joyful event. Some Gentiles who understand the nature of the Purim incident are uncomfortable with this.
Ashkenazi Jews commemorate Purim by eating pastries fashioned to resemble Haman's hat ("hamentashen" in Yiddish). Sephardic Jews eat Haman's ears ("Haman's Ears," "oznei Haman" in Hebrew, or "orejas de haman" in Spanish). Rabbi Robert Sternberg has a recipe for Haman's Ears in his cookbook, The Sephardic Kitchen: The Healthy Food and Rich Culture of the Mediterranean Jews.
… At Purim, to celebrate the demise of the hated Haman, the Sephardim make pastries in the shape of his ears and the Ashkenazim make pastries in the shape of his 3-cornered hat. There are different types of dough, including a yeast dough. This biscuity one is meltingly delicious. There are various fillings. The most traditional and most popular is a poppy-seed one. Another is with prunes.
… Roll the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness and cut into 4-inch rounds with a wide glass cookie cutter. Cut each circle in half. Draw the two pointed ends of each half circle together and pinch them to form a small hump in the center which buckles up a little. This piece of dough is now shaped to roughly resemble an ear …
— Rabbi Steinberg (5)
Most cultures forgive and forget their wars within a century, permitting the spirits of their enemies to evaporate into history and burying the bodies in peace. To this writer's knowledge, none of them eat pastry effigies — whether ears or hats — of an enemy killed thousands of years in the past. None of them celebrate the needless slaughter of others.
The Jerusalem Post cartoon strip, "Drybones," explained the 1999 Purim celebration with an illustration and text that reads, in part:
Obviously the saving of one Jewish community in ancient Persia is not what makes the joyous Purim holiday so significant. And the characters of "Queen Esther" and "Mordechai the Jew" are NOT what makes the holiday tick.
The tale of Purim is important because it provides us with a view of the archetypical villain, Haman.
And recognizing the sly Haman who wants to destroy us is important, because there seems to be a Haman in every generation. And so on Purim we celebrate our escape from a long line of "Hamans" that stretches down through history and around the world!
— Jerusalem Post (6)
Note the above words: "And recognizing the sly Haman who wants to destroy us is important, because there seems to be a Haman in every generation." It seems very important to Jewish leadership that Jews be hated. Is being hated yet another "frontier of fire" that supplies the cohesion for Jewishness?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, the late Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, in a Purim message to his supporters, echoed Reverend Dr. Cohen's thoughts:
The story of Purim, as related in the Book of Esther, gives us a clear analysis of the 'Jewish problem.'
Being dispersed over 127 provinces and lands, their own still in ruins, the Jews undoubtedly differed from one another in custom, garment, and tongue according to the place of their dispersal, very much in the same way as Jews in different lands differ nowadays. Yet, though there were Jews who would conceal their Jewishness, Haman, the enemy of the Jews, recognized the essential qualities and characteristics of the Jews which made all of them, with or without their consent, into 'one people,' namely, 'their laws are different from those of any other people' (Book of Esther 3:8). …
Purim teaches us the age-old lesson, which has been verified even most recently, to our sorrow, that no manner of assimilationism, not even such which is extended over several generations, provides an escape from the Hamans and Hitlers; nor can any Jew sever his ties with his people by attempting such an escape.
— Rabbi Schneerson (34)
The Book of Esther and the origin of Purim does perhaps give us a clear analysis of "the Jewish problem," but Rabbi Schneerson misses it. Rabbi Schneerson asserts Haman just picked on the Jews because they were different: "Haman, the enemy of the Jews, recognized the essential qualities and characteristics of the Jews … 'their laws are different from those of any other people' (Book of Esther 3:8)."
But Rabbi Schneerson blots out the memory of Esther 3:1-6, wherein we learn that Mordecai deliberately disobeyed King Ahasuerus's command, deliberately insulted the Grand Vizier, and ignored the repeated attempts of others to reform his behavior.
In short, Mordecai broke the law of the land and showed contempt for the rulers — and that doesn't fly in anybody's country, regardless of who you are. Mordecai did this while asserting his Jewishness. Rabbi Schneerson would have us forget that Mordecai created a potentially deadly situation for his own people. In short, Rabbi Schneerson would have us remember only the antipathy of the Gentile, but he would have us forget that the antipathy was deliberately provoked by the Jew.
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America ("Orthodox Union") embroiders the Bible story with this version of events: Haman was a Megalomaniac who wanted the Persian throne for himself. Notice the Orthodox Union's delight in describing the fate of Haman, and his presumably innocent sons.
"Haman" — the evil Persian megalomaniac, who saw in the Jewish People and in Mordechai, in particular, the block in his path to the throne of Persia. To get rid of this "obstacle," he formulated a plot, based on a lottery (a "Pur," in Persian), by which he would effectively exterminate the entire Jewish population. Fortunately, at that time, we were able to assemble enough "zechut," or merit, to convince HaShem that we were still worthy of being saved.
And Haman and his ten sons wound up swinging from the gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai.
— Orthodox Union (41)
This allegation concerning Haman's ambitions is not supported by the Book of Esther, yet the Orthodox Union presents the detail as uncontested fact. What is the purpose of embroidering the tale? Does his death require further justification? Perhaps. On reading closely, we see that Haman was pleading for his life before Queen Esther in Chapter 7, verse 7. In verse 8, we learn that in the process of pleading for his life, Haman (inexplicably) "was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was." The king chose this very moment to re-enter the banquet hall, and jumped to the conclusion that Haman was assaulting Esther. Sadly, Esther kept her silence and allowed Haman to be hanged on the basis of the false accusation.
- And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.
- And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
- Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the banquet of wine; and Haman was fallen upon the bed whereon Esther was. Then said the king, Will he force the queen also before me in the house? As the word went out of the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.
- And Harbonah, one of the chamberlains, said before the king, Behold also, the gallows fifty cubits high, which Haman had made for Mordecai, who had spoken good for the king, standeth in the house of Haman. Then the king said, Hang him thereon.
- So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified.
— Esther 7:6-10 (KJV)
Rabbi Schneerson alludes to the modern Frontier of Fire, the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the leading Article of Faith in contemporary Judaism; it is to the Jews as the Crucifixion is to Christians. In the history of the world, nothing like the Holocaust has ever happened to any other people.
The Holocaust must be viewed as a unique event in human history, an attempt to eradicate the idea of Judaism, as well as the Jews.
— Erich Kulka (29)
Independent researchers ("Holocaust revisionists") who question the official Holocaust story have been vilified, ruined, and imprisoned throughout the world. (37) Jewish leadership cannot allow rank and file Jews to entertain the notion that they are not hated. Jews must be hated. It is part of the mythos. To suggest that Jews are not hated is to express hatred of Jews.
The trap of the Jewish atrocity mythos consists of two sets of beliefs:
The Jewish Encyclopedia states:
The vast majority of modern expositors have reached the conclusion that the book [of Esther] is a piece of pure fiction …
— The Jewish Encyclopedia (4)
Despite this consensus of the "vast majority of modern expositors" (The Jewish Encyclopedia was published 1901-1906), the message has not being passed along by the Jewish leadership to the rank and file. Purim is an object lesson — in hostility unto death, and the Holy Atrocity. Having been prepared by Purim celebrations since childhood, the Holocaust is easy to accept.
Attorney Nathan Lewin, who wants the United States to join with Israel in massacring Palestinian families, is assisting Buffalo Law School professor Rabbi Noson Gurary to set up the National Institute for Judaic law. (10) The purpose of the Institute is to inject Talmud law into US courts and US society. In the same month that Lewin called for the massacre of Palestinian families, his colleague Rabbi Gurary gave his daughter away in marriage. Nathan Lewin may well have been a guest at the wedding. An article about the wedding of Devorah Leah Gurary and wedding photos were published the World Wide Web by Rabbi Gurary's organization, Chabad of Buffalo. (11) Rabbi Gurary, not this writer, makes his daughter's wedding a public event.
Rabbi Noson Gurary, father of the bride, leads his daughter in circling around the groom.
Rabbi Gurary's daughter after her wedding.
Rabbi Gurary with his family, and millions of other Jews with their families, are safe here in America, enjoying the blessings of liberty. That is because the United States, a non-Jewish nation, permitted the Jews to come here and practice their religion openly. To Jew and Gentile alike, we extended our blessings and our principle of "Equal Justice Under law."
In return, what do the Jews plan for us? See America's New Government Church, Talmud v. US Law, and other essays in America under the Talmud: Will It Work for US?
As America becomes more Talmudized, it is conceivable that American children will be expected to partake in this celebration of mass murder, and non-Jews may not be comfortable with this.
The reader's eyes fall on the words of Martin Buber, a Jewish philosopher writing to Jews in 1961:
Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal our people of their murderous sickness of causeless hatred. It is bound to bring complete ruin upon us. Only then will the old and young in our land realize how great was our responsibility to those miserable Arab refugees in whose fields we now sow and harvest; the fruit of whose gardens, orchards and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities we robbed, we put up houses of education, charity and prayer while we babble and rave about being the 'people of the book' and the 'light of the nations.'
— Martin Buber (33)
Buber's words apply to America.
* * *
Thank you for your consideration of the above,
Carol A. Valentine, [email protected]
July 14, 2003 ( This article is on line at http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/br_1.html )
The complete Mishnah for Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 2a should be read in the Soncino original with the translator's footnotes. For those to whom the original is not available, the Mishnah text is reproduced here:
MISHNAH. MONETARY CASES [MUST BE ADJUDICATED] BY THREE JUDGES; CASES OF LARCENY AND MAYHEM, BY THREE; CLAIMS FOR FULL OR HALF DAMAGES, THE REPAYMENT OF THE DOUBLE OR FOUR- OR FIVE-FOLD RESTITUTION [OF STOLEN GOODS], BY THREE, AS MUST CASES OF RAPE, SEDUCTION, AND LIBEL; SO SAYS R. MEIR. BUT THE SAGES HOLD THAT A CASE OF LIBEL REQUIRES A COURT OF TWENTY-THREE SINCE IT MAY INVOLVE A CAPITAL CHARGE.
CASES INVOLVING FLOGGING, BY THREE; IN THE NAME OF R. ISHMAEL IT IS SAID, BY TWENTY-THREE.
THE INTERCALATION OF THE MONTH IS EFFECTED BY A COURT OF THREE; THE INTERCALATION OF THE YEAR, BY THREE: SO R. MEIR. BUT R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAYS THE MATTER IS INITIATED BY THREE, DISCUSSED BY FIVE AND DETERMINED BY SEVEN. IF HOWEVER, IT BE DETERMINED ONLY BY THREE, THE INTERCALATION HOLDS GOOD. THE LAYING OF THE ELDERS' HANDS [ON THE HEAD OF A COMMUNAL SACRIFICE] THE BREAKING OF THE HEIFER'S NECK REQUIRE THE PRESENCE OF THREE: SO SAYS R. SIMEON. ACCORDING TO R. JUDAH, FIVE. THE PERFORMANCE OF HALIZAH, AND THE DECISION AS TO MI'UN IS MADE BY THREE. THE FOURTH YEAR FRUIT AND THE SECOND TITHE OF UNKNOWN VALUE ARE ASSESSED BY THREE. THE ASSESSMENT OF CONSECRATED OBJECTS FOR REDEMPTION PURPOSES IS MADE BY THREE; VALUATIONS OF MOVABLE PROPERTY BY THREE. ACCORDING TO R. JUDAH ONE OF THEM MUST BE A KOHEN; IN THE CASE OF REAL ESTATE, BY TEN INCLUDING A KOHEN, IN THE CASE OF A PERSON, BY THE SAME NUMBER.
CAPITAL CASES ARE ADJUDICATED BY TWENTY-THREE. THE PERSON OR BEAST CHARGED WITH UNNATURAL INTERCOURSE, BY TWENTY-THREE, AS IT IS WRITTEN, THOU SHALT KILL THE WOMAN AND THE BEAST, AND ALSO, AND YE SHALL SLAY THE BEAST.
THE OX TO BE STONED IS TRIED BY TWENTY-THREE, AS IT IS WRITTEN, THE OX SHALL BE STONED AND ITS OWNER SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH — AS THE DEATH OF THE OWNER, SO THAT OF THE OX, CAN BE DECIDED ONLY BY TWENTY-THREE.
THE DEATH SENTENCE ON THE WOLF OR THE LION OR THE BEAR OR THE LEOPARD OR THE HYENA OR THE SERPENT IS TO BE PASSED BY TWENTY-THREE. R. ELIEZER SAYS: WHOEVER IS FIRST TO KILL THEM [WITHOUT TRIAL], ACQUIRES MERIT, R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, HOLDS THAT THEIR DEATH IS TO BE DECIDED BY TWENTY-THREE.
A TRIBE, A FALSE PROPHET AND A HIGH PRIEST CAN ONLY BE TRIED BY A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE. WAR OF FREE CHOICE CAN BE WAGED ONLY BY THE AUTHORITY OF A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE. NO ADDITION TO THE CITY OF JERUSALEM OR THE TEMPLE COURT-YARDS CAN BE SANCTIONED SAVE BY A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE.
SMALL SANHEDRINS FOR THE TRIBES CAN BE INSTITUTED ONLY BY A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE.
NO CITY CAN BE DECLARED CONDEMNED SAVE BY A DECREE OF A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE. A FRONTIER TOWN CANNOT BE CONDEMNED NOR THREE CITIES AT A TIME, BUT ONLY ONE OR TWO.
THE GREAT SANHEDRIN CONSISTED OF SEVENTY-ONE MEMBERS; THE SMALL SANHEDRIN OF TWENTY-THREE. WHENCE DO WE DEDUCE THAT THE GREAT SANHEDRIN IS OF SEVENTY-ONE? — IT IS SAID, GATHER UNTO ME SEVENTY MEN; WITH MOSES AT THEIR HEAD WE HAVE SEVENTY-ONE. R. JUDAH SAID IT CONSISTED ONLY OF SEVENTY. WHENCE DO WE KNOW THAT THE SMALL SANHEDRIN IS OF ONLY TWENTY-THREE? — IT IS SAID, AND THE 'EDAH SHALL JUDGE … AND THE 'EDAH SHALL DELIVER. ONE 'EDAH JUDGES, [I.E. CONDEMNS] AND THE OTHER MAY DELIVER [I.E. ACQUIT], HENCE WE HAVE TWENTY. BUT HOW DO WE KNOW THAT A CONGREGATION CONSISTS OF NOT LESS THAN TEN? — IT IS WRITTEN, HOW LONG SHALL I BEAR WITH THIS EVIL 'EDAH? EXCLUDING JOSHUA AND CALEB, WE HAVE TEN. AND WHENCE DO WE DERIVE THE ADDITIONAL THREE? — BY THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE TEXT, THOU SHALT NOT FOLLOW A MAJORITY FOR EVIL, I INFER THAT I MAY FOLLOW THEM FOR GOOD; IF SO, WHY IS IT SAID, TO INCLINE AFTER THE MAJORITY? TO TEACH THAT THE MAJORITY TO 'INCLINE AFTER' FOR GOOD [I.E. FOR A FAVOURABLE DECISION] IS NOT THE ONE TO 'INCLINE AFTER' FOR EVIL [I.E. FOR AN ADVERSE DECISION] SINCE FOR GOOD, A MAJORITY OF ONE SUFFICES; WHEREAS FOR EVIL, A MAJORITY OF TWO IS REQUIRED.
AND AS A COURT CANNOT CONSIST OF AN EVEN NUMBER ANOTHER ONE IS ADDED, MAKING A TOTAL OF TWENTY THREE.
WHAT MUST BE THE POPULATION OF A TOWN TO MAKE IT ELIGIBLE FOR A [SMALL] SANHEDRIN? — ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY. R. NEHEMIA SAYS: TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY, SO THAT EACH MEMBER SHOULD BE A RULER OF [AT LEAST] TEN.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 111b
Soncino 1961 Edition, pages 1-4
The complete Mishnah for Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 111b should be read in the Soncino original with the translator's footnotes. For those to whom the original is not available, the Mishnah text is reproduced here:
MISHNAH. THE INHABITANTS OF A SEDUCED CITY HAVE NO PORTION IN THE WORLD TO COME, AS IT IS WRITTEN, CERTAIN MEN, THE CHILDREN OF BELIAL, ARE GONE OUT FROM AMONG YOU, AND HAVE WITHDRAWN THE INHABITANTS OF THEIR CITY. THEY ARE NOT EXECUTED UNLESS THE SEDUCERS ARE OF THAT CITY AND THAT TRIBE, AND THE MAJORITY THEREOF ARE SEDUCED, AND THE SEDUCERS ARE MEN. IF WOMEN OR MINORS SEDUCED IT, IF A MINORITY WERE SEDUCED, OR IF THE SEDUCERS WERE FROM WITHOUT THE CITY, THEY ARE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS, AND TWO WITNESSES AND A FORMAL WARNING ARE NECESSARY FOR EACH [OFFENDER]. IN THIS [THE PENALTY OF] INDIVIDUALS IS SEVERER THAN [THAT OF] A MULTITUDE, FOR INDIVIDUALS ARE STONED, THEREFORE THEIR PROPERTY IS SAVED; BUT MULTITUDES ARE DECAPITATED; HENCE THEIR POSSESSIONS ARE DESTROYED.
THOU SHALT SURELY SMITE THE INHABITANTS OF THAT CITY WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD. A COMPANY OF ASS-DRIVERS OR CAMEL-DRIVERS PASSING FROM PLACE TO PLACE SAVES IT. DESTROYING IT UTTERLY, AND ALL THAT IS THEREIN, AND THE CATTLE THEREOF: FROM THIS IT WAS DEDUCED THAT THE PROPERTY OF THE RIGHTEOUS, WHICH IS WITHIN [THE CITY] IS DESTROYED, BUT THAT WHICH IS WITHOUT IS SAVED, WHILST THAT OF THE WICKED, WHETHER WITHIN OR WITHOUT, IS DESTROYED. AND THOU SHALT GATHER ALL THE SPOIL THEREOF IN TO THE MIDST OF THE PUBLIC SQUARE THEREOF ETC. IF IT HAD NO PUBLIC SQUARE, ONE IS MADE FOR IT; IF IT WAS [SITUATED] WITHOUT [THE TOWN], IT IS BROUGHT WITHIN IT, AS IT IS SAID, AND THOU SHALT BURN WITH FIRE THE CITY, AND ALL THE SPOIL THEREOF EVERY WHIT, FOR THE LORD THY GOD.
THE SPOIL THEREOF' IMPLIES, BUT NOT THE SPOIL OF HEAVEN. HENCE IT WAS RULED, THE HOLY OBJECTS THEREIN MUST BE REDEEMED; THE TERUMOTH ALLOWED TO ROT; AND THE SECOND TITHE AND THE SACRED WRITINGS HIDDEN. A WHOLE-OFFERING FOR THE LORD THY GOD: R. SIMEON SAID: THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, DECLARED, IF YE EXECUTE JUDGMENT UPON THE SEDUCED CITY, I WILL ASCRIBE MERIT TO YOU AS THOUGH YE HAD SACRIFICED TO ME A WHOLE OFFERING. AND IT SHALL BE A HEAP FOR EVER: [HENCE] IT MAY NOT BE CONVERTED INTO GARDENS AND ORCHARDS: THIS IS THE VIEW OF R. JOSE THE GALILEAN. R. AKIBA MAINTAINED: IT SHALL NOT BE BUILT AGAIN [IMPLIES] THAT IT MAY NOT BE REBUILT AS IT WAS, BUT MAY BE CONVERTED INTO GARDENS AND ORCHARDS. AND THERE SHALL CLEAVE NOUGHT OF THE CURSED THING TO THINE HAND: [THAT THE LORD MAY TURN FROM THE FIERCENESS OF HIS WRATH, AND SHEW THEE MERCY]: AS LONG AS THE WICKED EXIST IN THE WORLD, THERE IS FIERCE ANGER IN THE WORLD; WHEN THE WICKED PERISH FROM THE WORLD, FIERCE ANGER DISAPPEARS FROM THE WORLD.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 111b
Soncino 1961 Edition, pages 765-768
Footnotes: Full specifics for each of the printed sources are provided in the Bibliography. Outside URLs were valid at the time this article was written. However, be mindful that URLs do change.
© Copyright Carol A. Valentine, 2003. See copyright statement at http://www.come-and-hear.com/copyright.html
Title: Holy Atrocities and Judaism
Version: July 29, 2003
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