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    The guns are real – Shof’tim

    gunA dramatic part of this week’s sidra (Deut. 21) is the discovery of a dead body somewhere between two cities.

    The leading citizens in both cities disclaim any responsibility: “Our hands did not shed this blood” (Deut. 21:7).

    The Torah works out what to do, but we get the feeling that this is an unusual event and doesn’t often happen.

    It’s quite different from modern times, when, as the theologian Ignaz Maybaum puts it, people see history “as a place where people kill and are killed”.

    This message permeates everything around us: life consists of death. Either you die or I do, or both. Either you kill or I do, either you are killed or I am, or both.

    Once upon a time little children played with toy guns: now the guns are real, and so are the knives, the cleavers, the bombs, the chemical weapons and all the other fiendish inventions of the killing industry.

    The world is facing a crisis of survival. It’s no game.

    Surely mankind can work out a way of totally moving our culture across to a principle of history as a place where people love, encourage and support one another, a place where people laugh and sing, a place where we all rejoice in one another and God smiles at us all.

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