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From the Top of Masada

A timely lesson while traveling with's mission to Israel.

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Visitor Comments: 17

(17) Raisy, November 7, 2010 3:46 AM


Rachel Imeinu was known for her 'vatranus' she gave up (sacrificed?) her marriage to Yakov to save her sister from humiliation. Again, this was a choice she made when faced with a conflict. She did not 'look' for something to sacrifice.

(16) Raisy, November 7, 2010 3:45 AM

what did they sacrifice themselves for?

The way I understand it is that the Jews at Masada knew that if the Roman's captured them they would be enslaved--a completely humiliating and dehumanizing experience in ancient Rome. The women would be defiled, something abhorred in Jewish law--though probably not 'yehareg v'al ya'avor' since they were not going willingly. They would likely be killed in barbaric, torturous ways--think gladiators. There are some Rabbis who hold that the suicide committed was not warranted. They are not faulted, however, since, as listed above, the alternatives were dreadful. The question of whether the Zealots were wrong in engaging the militarily superior Romans in battle is more clear cut: the Rabbis were certainly opposed to this and the Zealots are blamed for much of the death and destruction that resulted from their aggresion. As far as sacrifice is concerned: it's not a mitzva in the Torah--unless we're talking about animal sacrifices. So much of Torah and mitzvos is about giving--giving tzedaka, doing chessed, bearing and raising children, extending oneself to the poor, oppressed, the widow, the orphan, etc. Yes the money spent on a yeshiva/Bais Yakov education and on all other mitzvos is what we give to live a Torah life. We are not meant to see it as a sacrifice: Rather it is 'ten lo mishelo' --we are giving to G-d from what He has given us. I'm not sure 'sacrifice' is a Jewish concept. We don't need to look for things to give up; leading a sincere Torah-observant life will require us to do plenty of giving. When there is a conflict between something we want or a mitzva--then mitzva needs to win out--perhaps then there is sacrifice. But we don't go looking for things to sacrifice. It is not a mitzva to incur pain or suffer. It sounds like more of a Christian concept to me.

(15) Anonymous, November 3, 2010 2:52 AM

Agreed with number 4

In fact, I agree with meir. Look at what we do in order to show our Jewish pride. In a mall, when we are starving, and the food looks scrumptious in the food section, we refrain, we sacrifice. We spend enormous amounts of money on kosher food, tuition, charity, housing- All because we need to be close to each other, and better ourselves through positive acts of goodness and kindness. The issue is, how will we, and the next generation realize that these are truly sacrifices? Clearly, and hopefully, we have not and will not need to make sacrifices as in past generations. Here in the states, we feel relatively safe, and even proud to be jewish. What I suggest we do is remind ourselves of the reasons we do what we do. When we refrain from eating non kosher, or give charity, or pay high tuition, we should verbalize- to ourselves and to our children, that we are doing this because we love God and because we are proud to give of ourselves for Him and for the Jewish Nation. In this way, on our level, we are doing what others have had to do in other generations, albeit in a modified way. This message can be imbued in our children as well if we have the right attitude, as they will realize that all the small sacrifices we make are well worth it.

(14) Lisa Youngworth, November 3, 2010 1:19 AM

Loved Ones

My son gives me such nachas!! He graduated college 06/10, made Aliyah 10/10 and plans to join the IDF. He is sacrificing his comfortable Southern California Beach lifestyle, having his loving family and many friends close by, his time, and his money. I am sacrificing having my dear son nearby. Thank G-d for Skype! And airplanes...

(13) ju-buoy, November 3, 2010 12:32 AM

TMay is right on!!

Please,everyone,,dont dismiss TMay's comments as right wing.Times are a chang'in and we as jews,MUST SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL AND VOTE OUT A MAN WHO's best friend is a hate-filled anti-semite ,preacher that only wants our destruction.

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