Behind the theology of Jewish Terror

The latest news article about the Jewish terrorist Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, a man who has allegedly murdered two people, not to mention, attempted three other murders and committed other acts of violence, has been arraigned in a Jerusalem court today.  “It was a pleasure and an honor to serve my God. I have no regret and no doubt that God is pleased.”

While the story is pretty exceptional, the ideology of Jewish terror is a grim reminder that we, as Jews, have plenty of work ahead in keeping our own spiritual house clean. In an age that is witnessing resurgence in anti-Semitism, it behooves us all as a religious community to be mindful of how we can generate anti-Semitism without the help of the neo-Nazis, skinheads, or Muslim extremists.

In a yesterday’s edition of the Ma’ariv Israeli newspaper, there is another  story that describes a Chabad “settler rabbi”[1] named Yitzchak Shapiro, who recently wrote a book named “The King’s Torah,” where he gives permission for Jews to kill gentiles who threaten Israel.  The book is quite radical and claims that one may even kill the righteous among the nations—regardless whether that person has sinned or may have violated one of the seven Noahide commandments. According to Shapira, any gentile who fails to observe even one of the Noahide precepts forfeits his life.  Beyond that, even babies and infants can be killed if they pose a threat to the Jewish people. Shapiro states:

‘It is permissible to kill the Righteous among Nations even if they are not responsible for the threatening situation,’ he wrote, adding: ‘If we kill a Gentile who has sinned or has violated one of the seven commandments – because we care about the commandments – there is nothing wrong with the murder . . .’ Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira Rabbi Shapira also determined that it is permissible to kill gentile babies “because their presence assists murder, and there is reason to harm children if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us … it is permissible to harm the children of a leader in order to stop him from acting evilly … we have seen in the Halakha that even babies of gentiles who do not violate the seven Noahide laws, there is cause to kill them because of the future threat that will be caused if they are raised to be wicked people like their parents.”

One might wonder: Did this particular rabbi express a viewpoint that is unique to him, or was he merely echoing an ideology that he had been indoctrinated from his faith-community? Among the Haredi and Chabad communities, it is customary to receive an endorsement from a prominent and respected rabbinic scholar who approves of his work. In this case here, Shapira received an endorsement from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginzburg, a leading Habad rabbi in Israel, better known for his books dealing with themes from the Kabbalah. Rabbi Ginzburg has a long history of supporting Jewish violence and was also instrumental in putting together a memorial book to Baruch Goldstein (who butchered Muslim worshipers many years ago in Kiryat Arba); he even contributed a chapter discussing Goldstein’s killings as a “Kiddush Hashem,” a “sanctification of God’s Name.” Continue reading “Behind the theology of Jewish Terror”