Thursday, January 05, 2006

Very Tough Moral Dilemma

It's clearly the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. Ariel Sharon, if he survives, will never hold political office again, barring a miraculous recovery. (If anyone anti-Sharon is reading this, please understand that I am using the word 'miraculous' in the literal sense - ie, that it would take a miracle for him to recover fully to the level to be able to run for political office again - not the optimistic sense - ie, that it would be wonderful and miraculous if he could make it back to power. I am attempting to leave politics completely out of this conversation.)

But the question has presented itself to me: How do we treat Sharon's illness on a religious/spiritual/Jewish level?

If we love Ariel Sharon, we must obviously pray for his full, "miraculous" recovery, and that he chooses to ignore what will almost certainly be his doctors' most urgent order, to retire for his own health's sake. If, however, we oppose Sharon, as a prime minister, as a politician, and/or even as a person, we are faced with a dilemma.

I do not know the answer, but here are the factors that must be considered:

1. He is a human being with a family, and one who spent his life trying, at least in his own mind, to serve Israel and the Jewish people as best as he can.

2. He is a Jew. Jews have always prayed for one another. We have a saying from Pirqei Avoth: "Kol Yisrael 'Arevim Zeh LaZeh" - "All of Israel is responsible for one another." (Israel is this case, of course, refers not to the State but to Jews as a nation). This statement has been understood throughout the millennia to mean so many things, including one another's physical survival, welfare, health, financial well-being, and even religious/spiritual well-being.

3. He has been involved in political scandals. He may have muscled his way to power and abused power. He and his family have been accused of criminal conspiracies.

4. His policies may be damaging to Jews and the Jewish state.

5. He is a symbol of Jewish strength and political and military success.

This is where the dilemma comes in.

At what point do we draw the line and pray for someone whom we hold to be damaging to the Jews? Do we say that he deserves this as punishment for his actions? Do we assume that if he lives he will have no influence over policy, and that therefore we can be comfortable with his survival (assuming we disagree with those policies)? Do we say that we pray for any and all human beings, no matter how much we may disagree with them?

My feelings may appear to have come out a bit in this post, but I have tried to stay neutral. I believe I have succeeded. I played both sides, and I noted where assumptions on one side or another would be necessary. Obviously the dilemma is slightly more pronounced on one side than the other. I hope I didn't offend anybody. This post was inspired by some conversations I had with others, in which many different opinions came out, and I tried to represent all of those opinions fairly here.


At 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved your post. You can indeed touch emotions. Keep writing.

This is Nancy from Israeli Uncensored News


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