yitzhak shapira 190.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The author of the Torat Hamelech book does not regret its harsh messages of violence to non-Jews during warfare, but probably will expound on the more problematic passages in the imminent third version so that the broad public better understands. In addition, Rabbi Yitzkak Shapira sees in his publication an important novelty for people who thought that by Jewish law gentiles might be killed freely, since he dedicates two chapters to explaining the complexity of the matter.
In an interview with haredi radio station Radio Kol Hai, to be aired in the end of July or beginning of August, the rabbi who rarely speaks to the media – and never to the secular media – said that he didn't “regret the book, nor the way God unveils in its publication all the things we are seeing.”
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“But I do reckon that if I'd have imagined that it would be disseminated to such a broad and distant public, I would have inserted slightly larger clarifications in a few places. It might very well be that in the third edition we will amend that. Since the book reached such popularity despite not being written that way, the only places in the book that are popular might be written in a more clear fashion for the public, so they understand what we wanted to say," he said.
The book, published in 2009, became instantly famous after two leading rabbis who wrote endorsements to it, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef and Rabbi Dov Lior, refused police summons for questioning on suspicion of incitement to racism and violence. The book deals with the attitude of Jews toward gentiles in times of war, and states that non-involved gentiles may be preemptively killed, including children. The rabbis were recently taken into police questioning.
One of the “popular passages” Shapira no doubt was referring to is
killing gentile children. In the interview with Kol Hai, he explains.
“Let's assume that to win a war I have to kill children, otherwise my
soldiers will die, then surely killing the enemies' children is more
correct than having my soldiers killed,” he said. “The same way I need
to ensure within my people that evil doesn't spread in the world, that
applies to the other people. And it the other people wants to support
the king, they are supporting evil, and if they don't want to support
the king – they must act against it as I am obliged. The example I'm
bringing of harming children are those of an evil king. If you pressure
him in a way that will keep him from acting in an even way, you can harm
[the children]. If I think the king is evil, a dictator who makes many
unjust wars, and I want to win in the war and my way to win in the war
is to harm his children and weaken his spirit, so he will stop sending
his soldiers – that is allowed.”
Shapira, who said that both Lior and Yosef consulted with him when
refusing police questioning, had criticism of what he sees as an
arrogant and over-active legal system that investigated him as well over
the book's content.
"Aharon Barak and his disciples decided to try with all their might to
confront law with Torah, and Shai Nitzan in my opinion feels like
Barak's disciple on these matters, and feels like a king, the King of
Law. Barak once said “the entire land is full of justice,” which is a
very severe distortion of the verse “the entire land is full of the
honor of God.” For the Supreme Court President to say that is to say
that the entire land is Aharon Barak,” said Shapira. “So whoever like
Nebuchadnezzar,” the Babylonian king who in the sixth century BCE
destroyed the First Temple, “thinks himself to be like the almighty is
trying to compare himself to God. And in the end there is a clash,” he
To Shapira, the current legal situation also endangers Jewish girls, who have no protection from Arab men at workplaces.
“The reality is that the law clearly causes violence, in that it forces
every supermarket or factory to employ Arabs,” he said. “This makes all
the supermarkets and shopping malls a place where it is very easy to
harass Jewish girls, and the results are disastrous... the law and the
way it's enforced deteriorates the Jews' ability to defend themselves.
There is anti-Jewish racism here.”
But Shapira remained optimistic that his way of Jewish observance will prevail.
“Jews are a clever people, and when they will get their wits together,
the revolution will be easy and tranquil. I hope we won't have to go
through difficult things for it to happen, a revolution in our
awareness and in our behavior,” he said.
Shapira also noted that his book actually could prevent violence against non-Jews.
"The precept that gentiles may not be killed is not simple for many
people, because when you read Jewish law in many places, you might
understand that gentiles can be killed freely without problems,” he
said. “Two chapters in the book were dedicated to explaining in a deeper
way what is really prohibited and permitted. Because the prohibition is
different than that within Jews," he explained. "This in itself is a
novelty in the book."