Jews and Guns

A Jewish Ethiopian woman in the Israeli Defense Forces practices her marksmanship. In Israel, men and women are obligated to serve in the army.

A Jewish Ethiopian woman in the Israeli Defense Forces practices her marksmanship. In Israel, men and women are obligated to serve in the army.

Before our son Ariel Chaim ZT”L passed away in 2003 at the age of twenty-two, he and I spent a good deal of time discussing the Second Amendment, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Ariel was amazed that so many American Jews–overwhelmingly liberal and secular–aligned themselves with the advocates of gun control, in reality a movement to banish the private ownership of guns by lawful citizens.

During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, my wife Karen and I, Ariel and Offspring #2, were inside a film theater. Abruptly, an angry mob congregated outside; soon they were trying to break down the doors. Trapped inside, we were all terrified. I held Offspring#2 in my arms; she shivered like a frightened rabbit. Karen gripped Ariel’s hand.

“Don’t worry,” we were assured, “the police will be here soon.”

But the police did not arrive that night, nor did they protect the city from arson, looting and murder. In fact, we watched in disbelief as news cameras captured images of police officers standing idly by while looters gleefully committed their crimes.

A few days later, I purchased a pistol, a 1911 .45 ACP.

I bought a gun because I realized that the day will most certainly again arrive when civil order breaks down and we are flung into a cruel Hobbesian landscape.

Here’s my three part series on the LA Riots, Jew Without a Gun.

As Ariel’s conservative political opinions took form, he logically and ethically fell on the side of legal gun ownership. But because he was first and foremost a Torah Jew, first and foremost a Talmudic scholar, Ariel placed gun ownership into the framework of Jewish law, halacha.

Ariel wanted to put down his ideas on paper. Unfortunately, he never had the opportunity to write an article on halacha and gun ownership.

And so I humbly jot down a few of Ariel’s ideas. This article is not meant to be comprehensive. It is but a snapshot of our discussions. Any mistakes in this article are mine and mine alone. I write from an imperfect memory, from conversations with my beloved son held years ago, and from the few notes he managed to scribble while sick and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

The Sword is Not the Cause

Ariel pointed out that in his commentary on Genesis 4:23, Ramban, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, the towering medieval scholar, writes with refreshing clarity:

“The sword is not the cause of murder, and there is no sin upon him who made it.”

In other words, a weapon, be it a sword or a gun, is neutral. It can be used for good or evil. Thus to label a gun as “bad” makes no sense, for a gun can be used in self-defense which the Torah sees as an obligation.

The Torah (Exodus 22.2) teaches that, when necessary a householder may kill a burglar to save his own life.

The Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin (72A) says:

“He who rises to kill you, you must kill first.”

It seems odd to have to defend the most basic notion of self-defense, but in America today, the shrill and self-righteous voices of pacifism and appeasement have become alarmingly prominent.

Ariel and I agreed that if gun control advocates had their way, the only people with access to guns would be the police, who cannot be counted on for security, and criminals, who can be counted on to be, well, criminals, with no respect for the hundreds of firearm laws already on the books.

Tyrants Ban Gun Ownership to Secure Their Power Base

Ariel also pointed out that in the story of Purim the Jews were granted royal permission to defend their lives. The King’s edict did not order the army to protect the Jews. Instead, the Jews were permitted to purchase arms in order to defend themselves.

Obviously, as a minority in the Persian Empire, Jews were forbidden weapon ownership.

This is not unique in Jewish history. During the Roman occupation of Judea, Jews were forbidden to own swords, spears or any implements of war. What better way for a ruling empire to control an unruly and rebellious population?

And of course, in Europe, one of the first laws that Hitler imposed was an all-encompassing weapons ban. Imagine how different Jewish history would be if every Jewish family in Europe owned at least one gun that had six bullets in the chamber.

Surprise Folks, Evil Exists

One of the hallmarks of postmodernism—the denial of absolute truths—is an astonishing inability to recognize, much less confront, evil. Therefore it becomes psychologically necessary for the liberal to place the blame on an inanimate object–the gun–rather than on the person who pulls the trigger. It is easier to fault the gun manufacturer for the horror at Columbine, rather than admit that two sixteen-year-old boys are evil.

The Jewish attitude, Ariel maintained, is to place the blame where it squarely belongs: on the two young men; to declare their evil, and never again utter their names. For just as goodness is a reality, so is evil.

Try and imagine, said Ariel, if one or two Columbine teachers had guns with them. Imagine if these armed teachers had been able to protect the students who were massacred.

There was another aspect to these stories that Ariel detected and deeply troubled him. The media invariably referred to Columbine and 9-11 as “tragedies.”

“They are not tragedies,” Ariel insisted. “They are atrocities.”

A tragedy is when people are killed in a flood, a fire or an earthquake. But when people are murdered in cold blood, it is an atrocity. Again, Ariel pointed out, the media–overwhelmingly liberal and marinated in moral equivalence–is unable to distinguish malevolent acts from natural disasters because their moral compass is broken.

Ariel concluded that Jews in America should be at the forefront of the right to keep and bear arms. For Jews to rely on the power of the state for protection is sheer foolishness. Time and again, Jewish history reveals governments cruelly betraying their Jewish citizens.

And though Ariel felt that America was “different,” he maintained that allowing the state to make ownership of weapons illegal is a dangerous policy that opens the door to tyranny in the name of “social justice.”

Further, pointed out Ariel, there is no such thing as social justice. There is only justice.

But like so much else in American Jewish life, liberal/progressive/postmodern Jews have signed on to aggressively utopian ideologies that go against their self-interest. Instead, countless Jews espouse principles that feed their need to feel virtuous. But in the end, these beliefs defy common sense and display an appalling ignorance of Jewish history, halacha, and human nature.

And finally, this powerful quote from the Book of Joel:

“Announce this among the nations:prepare for war; arouse the mighty; let all the soldiers approach and ascend. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning forks into spears; the weak shall say, I am strong.” Joel 3:9

This entry was posted in Ariel Chaim Avrech, Gun Control, Israel Defense Forces, Jew Without A Gun, Jewish Holidays, Jews & Guns, Judaism, Second Amendment, Talmud, Torah and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Comment Rules


Seraphic Secret is private property, that's right, it's an extension of our home, and as such, Karen and I have instituted two Seraphic Rules and we ask commentors to act respectfully.

  1. No profanity.
  2. No Israel bashing. We debate, we discuss, we are respectful. You know what Israel bashing is. The world is full of it. Seraphic Secret is one of the few places in the world that will not tolerate this form of anti-Semitism.

That's it. Break either of these rules and you will be banned.


8 Comments

  1. jimmo
    Posted September 22, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I am curious as to what type of shooting the Ethiopian is doing, as she is not using her sights to aim in on a target. Perhaps she was simply caught before or after a shot, or perhaps the Israelis use some type of area fire instead of aiming in. Or perhaps the photographer wanted to catch all of her face.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I have no idea. I think this was a set-up by an army photographer who realized what an astonishing beauty was this soldier.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • KirkParker
      Posted October 21, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Notice her finger is nowhere near the trigger. Yeah, it’s a posed piciture.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Bill Brandt
    Posted September 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Ariel was wise beyond his years.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Yes, he was always special.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. pkoning
    Posted September 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Excellent. I particularly appreciated the point about “tragedy” vs. “atrocity”. That has been bothering me as well.
    Thanks for the Torah references. I knew Exodus 22:2. The way I read that (King James Version, which is one I can read) it simply seems to say that killing a burglar is permitted; I don’t see it limited to “to save his own life”. From what I have read, a very similar view was held by American Indians: “A thief is shot in the night; whose hand was on the bow?”

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. Michael Kennedy
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Well done.

    I was shopping for my Christmas present today. A very nice armory restoration Springfield 1903 sniper version with a scope was very tempting. Last Christmas I got an AR 15.

    My black Jewish Ethiopian dental hygienist and I have discussions about American blacks sometimes when we meet, which will be next week. She and her white husband go back to Israel every year. She was a child when Israel rescued the Ethiopian Jews. She grew up there and has many siblings still there.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted September 22, 2016 at 2:38 am | Permalink

      I’d like to get a Springfield 1903 for Chanukah:-)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

  • How I Married Karen

    The new book
    by Robert J. Avrech


    Available in All Major Book Stores

    Buy this e-book for your Kindle from Amazon!
    Buy this e-book in the iBookStore!
    Buy this e-book in the iBookStore!

    Adobe Digital Edition's version is available through the Lulu store!

    Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

  • Follow Me on Pinterest
  • Subscribe to Seraphic Press via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



  •  

    Annual Ariel Avrech
    Memorial Lectures

    Young Israel of Century City

    Fourteenth: June 11, 2016
    Daniel Greenfield: “Fighting Anti-Semitism and Defending Israel in the Age of BDS.”

    Blog Post
    MP3 Audio Stereo (100 MB)
    Thirteenth: May 22, 2016
    Ben Shapiro: “How You Can Save Israel”

    Blog Post
    MP3 Audio Stereo (70 MB)
    Twelfth: June 7, 2015
    Larry Elder: “The New Black Anti-Semitism”

    Blog Post
    MP3 Audio Mono (50 MB) | Stereo (100 MB)
    Eleventh: June 8, 2014
    Michael Medved: “Shifting Alliances: Why Liberals No Longer Reliably Support Israel — And Conservatives Do.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 97MB)
    Tenth: June 9, 2013
    David Horowitz: “The War Against Judaism on the University Campus.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 16MB)
    Ninth: June 3, 2012
    Joel B. Pollak: “The Mainstream Media’s Betrayal of Israel.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 15MB)
    Eighth: June 5, 2011
    Yossi Klein Halevi: “What is Expected of a Survivor People: Lessons My Father Taught Me.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 18MB)
    Seventh: June 13, 2010
    Dennis Prager: “Happiness is a Mitzvah, Not an Emotion.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 80MB)
    Sixth: June 21, 2009
    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: “Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 64MB)
    Fifth: June 15, 2008
    Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl: “What Was the Rosh Yeshiva Reading: Intellectual Openness in 19th Century Lithuania.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 70MB)
  • Tags

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Friends

    Hollywood

    Politics, Bloggers & News

  • Hitmap