Florida and Arizona that rarely hear a ehild’s shout; gleamingrnnursing homes where the aged sick are warehoused until theyrndie; isolated young families struggling to rear children in arndeclining economy with a rising tax burden; overcrowdedrncities held hostage to youth gangs; and “social security centers”rneverywhere, drawing in the dependent masses for succor.rnI can remember when the pastor of my youth explainedrnthe meaning of this commandment to my fellow confirmandsrnand me. With his grey eyes flashing, the Reverend Lack toldrnhis snickering charges that this was the only commandmentrncontaining both a divine promise and an implicit threat. If wernlived as families in harmony with God’s natural order, he said,rnthen all would be given to us. But if we failed to honor andrnfollow our parents as God intended, then we would pay anrnawful price, in social ruin and the loss of all that God hadrngranted. In I96I, his words struck my friends and me as therntypical foolishness and exaggerations of an old man. In thernmore sober days of 1992, they carry the mark of inspiration, crnAllan Carlson is the president of The Rockford Institute andrnpublisher of Chronicles.rnV. KILLINGrnby Jacob Neusnerrn’^’ I ‘hou shalt not kill” means you shalt not unjustly takernX away someone’s remaining years on this earth. It doesrnnot mean you shalt not kill under any circumstances, and itrndoes not mean you shalt not conduct war if it is just. ThernTorah knows the difference between manslaughter and murder,rnchance and intention, accident and malice, negligencernand deliberation. The sages of the Torah, that is to say inrnsecular language “the authorities of Judaism,” find ample warrantrnfor the death penalty in Scripture. I wonder, therefore,rnhow people find support in the Torah for a pacifist stancernthat condemns all war, rejects as illegitimate the violence requiredrnfor self-defense, and insists that since the victim is alwaysrnright, the use of righteous violence is invariably unjustified.rnThe message of the Torah is a very different one: justicernoverrides sentimentality. The pacifist position, so far as itrnappeals to the Scriptures shared by Christianity and Judaism,rnmisreads the Torah. The message of the Torah is that God favorsrnthe victim—when the victim is in the right and the persecutorrnis in the wrong. And that is a very different messagernfrom the one derived, I think through an excess of sympathyrnand an insufficiency of reflection, by those who condemn allrnwar, all civil justice, all legitimate violence. A striking passagernfrom a rabbinic document makes this point with greatrnpower:rnR. Yose b. R. Yudan in the name of R. Yose b. R. Nehorairnsays, “It is always the case that the Holy One,rnblessed be he, demands from the hand of the pursuerrnan accounting for the blood of those who have beenrnpursued.rn”Abel was pursued by Cain, and God sought [an accountingrnfor] the pursued; ‘And the Lord looked [favorably]rnupon Abel and his meal offering.’rn”Noah was pursued by his generation, and Godrnsought [an accounting for] the pursued: ‘You and allrnyour household shall come into the ark.’rn”Abraham was pursued by Nimrod, ‘and God seeksrnwhat has been driven away’: ‘You are the Lord, the Godrnwho chose Abram and brought him out of Ur.’rn”Isaac was pursued by Ishmael, ‘and God seeks whatrnhas been driven away’: ‘For through Isaac will seed berncalled for you.’rn”Jacob was pursued by Esau, ‘and God seeks whatrnhas been driven away’: ‘For the Lord has chosen Jacob,rnIsrael for his prized possession.’rn”Moses was pursued by Pharoah, ‘and God seeksrnwhat has been driven away’: ‘Had not Moses His chosenrnstood in the breach before Him. . . .’rn”And the rule applies also to the matter of offerings.rnA bull is pursued by a lion, a sheep is pursued by a wolf,rna goat is pursued by a leopard.rn”Therefore the Holy One, blessed be he, has said,rn’Do not make offerings before me from those animalsrnthat pursue, but from those that are pursued: When arnbull, a sheep, or a goat is born.rnEternities of the divine teach the same lesson as facts ofrnhistory. God prefers the pursued to the pursuer, expressingrnthat preference even in the animals that are to be offered onrnthe Temple altar. But history—the catalogue of those whomrnGod prefers—qualifies that judgment: God favors the pursuedrnwho is right over the pursuer who is wrong. So the messagernis clear: not pacifism but righteous conduct is what Godrnhas in mind.rnReligiously based pacifism enjoys no monopoly on righteousness,rnand this commandment in no way forbids legitimaternviolence, including the death penalty and war. Godrnwants justice, not sentimentality, and the rationing out ofrnguilt to victim and criminal alike. Judaism’s position is arnmore balanced one, forming the basis for the social order.rnIlillel, the great sage, contemporary of Jesus, taught as follows:rnIf I am not for myself, who is for me?rnAnd when I am for myself, what am I?rnAnd if not now, when?rnThese three things must be kept in the balance: the right ofrnself-defense, the responsibility to the other, and the imperativesrnof occasion and circumstance. Of these, justice is made;rnwithout them we feed on that lugubrious sentimentality—rn”the criminal was toilet-trained too soon,” “he is a member ofrnan abused minority,” “the crime was not criminal becausernthe miscreant has had a less privileged life than the victim”—rnby which society is abused, then destroyed.rnThe sages of Judaism maintain the opposite view: justice,rntempered by mercy, is owed to everyone, including the victimrnof violence and the nation coveted by its neighbor. Everyonernhas rights, everyone has responsibilities, equally parceledrnout by the passionate God who cares for us all. -crnJacob Neusner is Distinguished Research Professor ofrnReligious Studies at the University of South Florida and lifernmember of Clare Hall, Cambridge University.rn18/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn