Dear Friend,

At a time when painful reports of fresh murderous terror attacks in Israel seem to be coming almost hourly, an ancient teaching in our Torah portion is as relevant as ever.

This week we read of a world that became corrupt and chaotic, and the resulting flood of Noah that reset it. The moral of this story is spelled out immediately: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, through man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of G‑d He made man” (Genesis 9:6). As our sages teach, humanity was given seven commandments which encompass the various aspects of morality and social order, providing us with a moral compass.

Terrorist belief systems glorify murder, while many onlookers around the world justify acts of terror on account of grievances and circumstances. Let us hope that the world at large adopts the Torah’s message: that every human life is precious, that every person has the responsibility to protect life, and that we can never allow murder to be justified or rationalized.

Together, let us pray and do good deeds for the safety of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. May G‑d protect them.

Shmary Brownstein,
Responder for Ask the Rabbi @