Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. (Lev 18) If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams–and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee–saying: ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them’… that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death… (Dev 13: 2-6) If thou shalt hear tell concerning one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to dwell there, saying: ‘Certain base fellows are gone out from the midst of thee, and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying: Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known’; then shalt thou inquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in the midst of thee; 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. (Dev 13: 13-16)I realize, in that instant, that I have become just like my parents. How can I justify this? How can I embrace their darkness. It is in that moment, that another verse comes to my mind.
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shalt live and multiply, and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land… (Dev 30)And I know, with certainty, that my people must survive. I must stand for life, even if it means others must be condemned to death. I must kill so that the world does not succumb to the powers of Moloch. My mind is untroubled ,and my soul unburdened, as I nod to my men. I give them the order to proceed. I am no longer a broken man. — In the Torah Reading of Re’eh, we read about the means the Torah uses to protect the people against incompatible ideals and symbolism. This story discusses those same ideas. And in order to challenge both myself and you, the reader, I chose to highlight the commandment to destroy the heretical city. The question of course is what measures are justified today, in the world we currently live in, to protect the ideas of life and the preservation of potential. This story doesn’t come packaged with answers, but perhaps it can raise a few questions. If you enjoyed the story, share it and be sure to comment on it. This is a difficult story, so even if you didn’t like it – but found it challenging – share it and comment on your own reaction. It is much appreciated. Joseph Cox lives in Modiin, Israel and is the author of City on the Heights, a thriller about finding hope in war.