‘Torat Hamelech’- Not A Very Good Beach Book

1 Nov


I don’t know how it came up, but I recently had a discussion with my brother about the book “Torat Hamelech” written by a settler Rabbi in Israel. In case you don’t know what TH is, it’s a book that made headlines a while back for saying that it was Halachically ok to kill non-Jewish children in wartime, or something along those lines. (Don’t look at me like that. I never claimed to do extensive research, like reading.)

Anyhow, obviously, since it was written by a settler Rabbi, it wasn’t too difficult for everyone with brain-like cells to realize that “non-Jews” was super-secret code for “Arabs”. Of course, some overly sensitive folks in the Israeli and international press didn’t like having religious law advocating killing babies, and they made a big stink about it. Personally though, I’m not surprised so much at this kind of book coming out of the Shtuchim, as much as the son of former Israeli Chief Rabbi Avadiah Yosef endorsing the book on it’s Halachic merits. Seriously.

Is this guy totally oblivious to anything going on outside of the Beis Medrash? His father is the head of a political party, for crying out loud!

“Rabbi Yosef, here’s a new halachah sefer, what do you think?”

‘Hmm. Tight logic. I especially like the originality of the subject matter. Funny, you don’t find many people writing about killing babies so much anymore. We should look into that. All the same, A+ work, old chap.’

He obviously didn’t take a look at the guy who wrote the book. Go google him. Classic settler getup. Scraggly beard, glasses, skinny, tzitzis, sandals, srugi, humongous assault rifle. Ok, so some of those things have been added by my imagination to better fit existing stereotypes in my head, but still, you could be the most spaced-out academic Rabbi and something would have to click.

Listen, I’m not judging. The guys who live out there on the border have to be crazy. They’re surrounded by terrorist breeding Palestinians, with no one to protect them but God and humongous cool guns. What kind of books do you expect to come out of there? Harry Potter and the Unicorns of Gaza?

These guys are 130 lbs of sinewy idealism and can kick your ass before your bladder fully empties itself down your leg. I’m glad we have them defending Israel. If they had to pick people like me… well, thank your lucky stars they don’t.

“Ok. Itchemeyer, go man the fence.”

‘Um, that’s not a great idea. See, uh, I’m more of an idea man.’

“What?”

‘Yeah, do you have a management position? I happen to be fat, and American. I do management really well. Hey- you know who’d be good manning the fence? I’d bet Crazy Yossi would. Look at him. I’ve never seen him without a gun and a cigarette. I’m pretty sure he even smokes when he’s asleep.’

“Hmm, good idea. You know, those are good managerial skills. Why don’t you take the big cabin near the women’s showers and manage the battle from there?”

And that’s a good time to end the thoughts-to-fingers transmission.

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6 Responses to “‘Torat Hamelech’- Not A Very Good Beach Book”

  1. Rachel November 1, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    “Listen, I’m not judging.”

    As someone who was taught that Jews are supposed to be an or lagoyim, I am definitely judging. The fact that these people decided to live in a dangerous place does not justify advocating killing innocent people.

    “These guys are 130 lbs of sinewy idealism and can kick your ass before your bladder fully empties itself down your leg. I’m glad we have them defending Israel.”

    They’re not in the army, in what way are they defending Israel? Actually soldiers sometimes risk their lives to protect the settlers. And they’re endangering Israel by publishing these books! Physically endangering us by making the world think we have no problem killing innocent children and spiritually endangering us with the tremendous chillul hashem.

    These people think that anything is justified in order to win the war… sounds a lot like another group I know: terrorists. Yes it’s true that some sources do seem to say this, but other sources do not. And we have to ask ourselves, even if killing a lot of innocent people can be halachically justified, are there any meta-halachic or general principles that prohibit this? Even if it doesn’t contradict the letter of the law, that doesn’t make it right (like when the Ramban talks naval b’reshus hatorah).

    Respectfully, I strongly disagree with the author’s sentiments. I too am not suprised to see this coming from extremists in the shtachim, but I think anyone who cares about the moral character of the Jewish people should be “making a stink” about this issue.

    • itchemeyer November 2, 2011 at 1:14 am #

      You make some good, intelligent points, but in order to respond, I’d have to a heck of a lot of reading about the whole settler issue, and I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I just read your entire comment, I think I’m entitled to a break.

      • Rachel November 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

        I’m sorry it turned into such a long comment, and I do appreciate you reading it. I personally find this particular sefer to be disturbing, but you’re right that “the whole settler issue” is complex and requires a lot of thought and inquiry. My main point was that we should care enough about the value of human life to at least engage in discussions about the issues raised in this particular sefer.

        Respectfully, Rachel

        • itchemeyer November 2, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

          No, you’re right. I probably should care more. It’s just that it’s so complex, and there’s nothing I can do about it anyhow except get into arguments with people, so I just avoid getting invested in it and just make jokes from the peanut gallery. It’s not a very good excuse, I know, but there it is.

  2. Dan November 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    You can’t handle the truth!

  3. Yedidyah May 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    I wonder what the commandments of Hashem are concerning all this. 633 should be something in there to follow.

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