Jewish Journal


July 25, 2012

The Need of Balance


The main suspect of last week’s terrorist attack in Bulgaria had a quite big file of involvement in activities of different terrorist groups. He was held for 2 years in Guantanamo, but - being a Swedish citizen - he was sent back to Sweden, where charges were not pressed against him. The Swedish authorities probably didn’t find him dangerous enough to keep him in jail or custody in order to protect innocent people from him. The result of this decision is seven dead and several injured people, whose only sin was going on a vacation by the Black Sea, or being a busdriver. I am sure, the Swedish authorities were trying to make a responsible decision, and avoid the conviction of someone who has probably not killed anyone yet. The freedom of the individual (liberal value) gained priority over the security of the community (conservative value).


In the beginning/middle of the last decade, when the second Intifada reached its peak, Israel has built a system of fences and walls in order to prevent Palestinian terrorists from getting into Israeli cities. Some might say it is only a coincidence, but as the fence was built up, the number of terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens dropped radically, leading to the end of the daily violence, thus saving many lives on both sides. On the other hand, tough security measures hardened the freedom of movement for many Palestinians, including the peaceful ones. The security of the community gained priority over the freedom of the individual.

Sweden is glorified in the World as one of the leading countries in human rights and freedom.
Israel is criticized in the World as being an oppressor and using “excessive force”.

The 13th century Jewish polyhistor, Maimonides teaches, that one of the most important principle is to walk the golden middle way. The Hebrew word “Emet” means truth, but it also means balance. It consists three Hebrew letters: aleph (the first one in the alphabet), mem (the 12th one in the middle), and tav (the 22th or last one). The two extremes on the sides, but in the center, the golden middle one. Truth = Balance.
If we lose balance we’ll eventually fall

3000 years ago in the Middle East slavery was common. In Babylon slaves had no rights, they had to work all the time, the law didn’t secure their life, rather entitled their masters to kill them if they didn’t need them anymore. Same in Egypt. There was only one nation which recognized the basic rights of the slaves: Israel. The Torah prohibits the masters to kill their slaves, who even received a day of rest every week! In those times and place the Torah represented unbelivable social rights and liberalism.

Nowadays, the leading media and organisations in the World judge countries and societies based on how “Western”, how liberal they are.

In the Western cultures less and less children are born, but proportionaly more and more of them are born to single mothers. Besides many useful sources, all kinds of unhealthy material is easily accessible to children. Even though, freedom of speech in most countries doesn’t apply on incitement and racism, it is nearly impossible to enforce those prohibitions. In fact, Western societies idolize individual freedom even when it poses a great danger to society.

Judaism refers to the Jewish people as light for the nations. Jews should be the examples of living by truth, in the right balance (unfortunately we sometimes fail to succeed in this). When it is normal in the World to treat certain people as objects or working machines, we should show, that every human being deserves the basic human rights! Similarly, when the World has gone too far in worshipping individual freedom, we should show that the golden middle way for the community is a bit (but not too much) back towards the conservative side.


This post is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Burgas terrorist attack:

Maor Harush (24) Acre, Israel
Itzik Kolangi (28) Petah Tikva, Israel
Mustafa Kyosov (36) Yurokovo, Bulgaria (bus driver)
Amir Menashe (28) Petach Tikva. Israel
Elior Preiss (25) Acre, Israel
Kochava Shriki (42) Rishon LeZion, Israel (pregnant)

May them be the last ones who had to die due to the lack of Emet in the World.


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