By M. Alexander and Jaron Zanerhaft
Headline: Osama Bin Laden killed by US Special Forces in a mansion outside Islamabad, Pakistan
Reaction: Crowds gather outside The White House chanting “USA! USA! USA!”
Headline: Egyptian Special Forces killed when Sea of Reeds abruptly closes
Reaction: Miriam leads women in song of rejoice “Michamocha! Michamocha! Michamocha!”
I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;
but that the wicked turn from his way and live:
Are we taking pleasure in the death of the wicked, just as Miriam took pleasure in the slaughter of the Egyptians? Many interpretations of The Torah state that Miri am was not allowed into Israel because she celebrated the death of the Egyptians. They enslaved us, but we should not celebrate their slaughter; instead, we should celebrate our freedom.
Instead of rejoicing at the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death, what should we do? As Jews, we believe that all men and women are children of God. T’Shuvah, not death, is the instrument we use to defeat evil. Our tradition teaches us that there is good even in the most wicked of us—the loss of a divine spark is always something to be mourned, even when the divine spark has consumed the lives of the many and contributed to the separation of humanity.
His head wasn’t pitted on a stick to be paraded around Washington D.C and New York City—he was cast into the sea
according to an Islamic tradition. His body was treated with respect out at sea by the forces who killed him, but the crowd in front of The White House looked like a soccer mob.
True, this man was not to be respected—he murdered the innocent and spread hate throughout the world. His actions
were atrocious, his words nothing short of evil.
The death of Osama Bin Laden is being celebrated throughout the free world, but we do not want to sink to the level of terrorists. We need to say kaddish for the lives of the people he killed and remember the families he tore apart. As Jews, as Americans, and as freedom fighters, we must take action to disenfranchise radical jihad and destroy Al Qaeda– but cheering and chanting when a man dies is not the path to freedom.
Instead, we should be the model for free societies, and for those who desire freedom throughout the world. We should celebrate life, spread knowledge, and we should Tikkun Olam–repair the world. Only then will fanatacism die.
How did you react to the news?