While I would like to disqualify the report in a Palestinian newspaper that Israel was behind the vicious attack in Paris, I cannot. For there are too many people who are filled with hate, and vulnerable to such absurd accusations, and ready to act upon them.
But during these days following the horrific attack I have had two primary thoughts. The first concerns the compelling need for all civilized nations to be aggressive in our collective war against ISIS (and all movements that perpetuate terror). Yes, I realize that it is a daunting challenge, but we have no choice if we are to live in a decent world.
My second thought concerns the terror that those people in the concert hall were feeling as they were under attack. While we speak of 129 victims, they were all individuals of diverse ages; all with families who now carry an unbearable scar of anguish. How does one cope with the murder of a loved one at the hands of such evil? How to go forth with living when you know that your child or spouse experienced such terror? Yes, we mourn for each of those innocent people who endured this atrocity.
The Torah commands us to “remember Amalek, and wipe out Amalek from the face of the earth.” Amalek was a tribe who attacked the Israelites soon after they had gone forth from slavery in Egypt. But what made this attack so vile was that Amalek attacked from the rear where the most vulnerable of the people would be. Amalek attacked the elderly, the children and the weak. So are we to wage our own “holy war” against such cruelty which surfaced the other day in Paris, even as we “remember” also those who were attacked last week in Lebanon, and those innocent ones who were in the Russian airplane that exploded over the Sinai Desert.
While in hiding Anne Frank wrote in her diary: “In the meantime I must hold on to my ideals, for perhaps the day will come” when I will be able to live them. May we hold on to our humanity even as there are those who seek to take it away from us.
Rabbi David Greenberg