by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Here, in the Old City (Jerusalem), we live normal lives. Well, normal for our part of the world. Pictured here is a young man rushing around doing the kind of things that we all have to do. He is shopping with his small daughter on his shoulders. Except for the unusual architecture, you might think that it is like any other Jewish neighborhood you have seen…lots of young children, noise, not enough time to do everything that needs to be done.
But, if you look carefully, you will notice one big difference. Look what he has tucked into his belt right next to his tzitzits (fringes). Do you see it? It is a loaded, nine-millimeter, 16 shot per clip, automatic pistol. Yeah, it’s real, and because he is carrying this, Jewish children can play in the streets.
Shabbos afternoon at the Kotel, a new oleh (immigrant) from Latin America who is in the army asked me, “What kind of religious thing is this… me being in the army learning to kill people? How does this make G-d happy?”
I told him, “The Torah teaches that when someone rises up to kill us, we are not to turn the other cheek, or run away. We are obligated to rise up and kill him first. We do not want war with these people. We want to live in peace. We would even let them live here as long as they would stop trying to kill us. But they rise up against us time and time again. We have to defend ourselves.
Even the world’s greatest example of kindness, Avraham, had to fight a war in order to free his captured nephew.[i] And it seems that, until the Messiah comes, so, too will we have to fight. You are doing a tremendous mitzvah by being in the army. If you weren’t there, the Jewish people couldn’t be here.”
(Akiva adds…”loaded”, there is a clip in the pistol. But Israel teaches an amazing level of gun safety. There is NOT a round in the chamber, and gun users are taught to draw and cock in one motion…so that no accidental discharge is possible. With all the guns found in Israel there are NO reports of children being injured, people grabbing their weapons in anger and doing something stupid, or improperly handling weapons and getting hurt. Every weapon owner has to go through a yearly certification demonstrating that he knows all the rules, can and does handle his weapon safely, and can use his weapon properly to an good level of proficiency. Every Israeli weapon holder can hit what he shoots at and keeps his (or her) weapon either on his person or under lock and key at all times.)
[i] Genesis 14:14