This is an essay from a prominent Rabbi in Los Angeles.
WhenAmalek attacked, no lighting bolts struck them down from Heaven, nosupernatural event occurred winning the battle for Israel even beforethe fight. No, scripture is clear, the Children of Israel, justrecently released from slavery, possibly without any military training,were still expected to and required by the circumstances to go intobattle and fight for their liberty and their lives.
G-dindeed blessed their endeavors. Still, if the Children of Israel didnot go out and fight Amalek, they would have succumbed to theirattackers and would have been killed. Indeed, if they had no tools forself defense, they would not have been able to fight. We must learnfrom these events some chilling and sobering facts. G-d wants us to bearmed and indeed, G-d ordains circumstances where we are expected, ifnot required to fight. Freedom, it seems, only survives for thosewilling and able to fight for it.
ThroughoutBiblical times, the Children of Israel were certainly no strangers toeither weaponry or to the use of them. Both Moses and Joshua, directedby G-d and blessed by Him to wage war, still did not rely uponsupernatural interventions to win their battles. Each led the armies ofIsrael to wage war in real terms, with real weapons, and most certainlywith real causalities. Throughout the days of the Judges and Kings,warfare was the way of the Israelite people. There is even scripturalsuggestions of a possible martial arts system existing in those days,focusing on hand-to-hand combat and the use of specialized weapons (aswas the case with David against Goliath).
Asidefrom the ancient Kingdoms of Israel and Judah each having armies andsoldiers, we see that even after the destruction of the First Templeduring the time period referred to in the Biblical Book of Esther, theJews of ancient Persia were able to rally against their enemies andvanquished tens of thousands of them using standard forms of warfareand combat.
LaterJewish history speaks of the Maccabee wars against the Grecian/Syriansand the later Revolutionary War fought (and lost) against Rome. Evenafter the destruction of the Second Temple, the martial spirit had notleft Israel. Just two generations after the Roman Wars, a newindependence movement arose under a freedom fighter named Bar Kokhba.He too failed to redeem Israel from Roman oppression, but nevertheless,the spirit of independence and the will to fight for it certainly didnot die alongside his failed mission.
Evenin more recent times, the authoritative Code of Jewish Law, theShulkhan Arukh (Orah Haim 329:6) enumerates the laws of self defensefor perilous times. These laws are predicated on the fact that the rankand file citizenry are individually armed and well able to defendthemselves. The modern State of Israel, not built upon any connectionto modern forms of religion, has a strong, citizen's army patteredafter the Biblical example of strength as opposed to the strange,bizarre and foreign mentality seen amongst some religious types, thatcombat and arms are foreign to the Bible lifestyle. We see fromoverwhelming scriptural examples that nothing could be further from thetruth.
Ilearn from religious sources and moral example that it is the absoluteright of every individual to be able to protect him/herself againstevery real threat that they may possibly be exposed to. I believe it isthe moral obligation of every citizen of every country, anywhere, tobear arms, or to have at his/her disposal any and all types of selfdefense tools that may be needed at a moment's notice.
Althoughmost modern societies have police forces operating at all national andlocal levels, nevertheless, as any police officer will definitivelystate, they cannot be everywhere, all the time, to prevent crime fromhappening. The actual role of the police is not so much to preventcrime, but rather to catch criminals who have already committed acrime. The only one who has the absolute responsibility to preventcrime and to safeguard and protect oneself is one's self.
Ifa criminal were to break into your home with intent to cause you andyour family bodily harm, what would you do? If you have theopportunity, you would call the police, (here in the US, that is 911).Now, although the police have been notified, there is still an armed,dangerous assailant in your home. What next? Well, you will have towait for the police to arrive, to confront, arrest and take away theperpetrator. This will take several minutes at least. So, in thiscrucial time, when you and your family are alone in the house with anarmed, possibly drug-crazed, violent intruder, what do you do until thepolice arrive?
Youcould try to hide, but things happen so quickly, do you really thinkthere would be time for a game of hide-and-seek, where every member ofyour family could hide safely? Probably not! Another alternative isthat you can directly confront the intruder, invite him into thekitchen and offer him some cookies. After all, maybe he is just hungry.Then again, he may accept your offer for the cookies, sit and chat fora moment and only then rape and kill you.
Inour real world, where there is real crime, with really terribleperpetrators doing some really terrible and disgusting things, the onlychance an average citizen has is to be able to confront suchperpetrators, not with words, but with deeds. And how does one stopanother whose intent is to harm? The answer is clear, with equal andopposite harm! Violent perpetrators are not interested in getting intofights. They simply want to commit their crimes and get away as fast asthey can. If the average citizen would only take responsibility forthemselves and confront criminals in the action of their crimes, wewould have a lot less crime and whole lot less number of criminals.
However,your average citizen has been both disarmed physically and emasculatedpsychologically. The average citizen has been brainwashed to believethat tools of self defense, of all kinds, are to be considered bad andevil. Therefore, the average citizen takes it as a matter of pride thathe does not own a gun, knife, pepper spray or stun-gun. The foolishunarmed man has convinced himself of his moral superiority, that hedoes need any of these, what in his eyes, are primitive forms ofviolent expression.
Iwonder how the unarmed fool feels after he has been tied up and isforced to sit and watch his family being abused and his home ravaged. Iwonder, does the unarmed fool, who was attacked while sleeping sounprepared in his own bed, he did not have time to call 911, does hehave any regrets? Does he say to himself, if only I had a gun in thebed-side table, none of this would be happening. I wonder, do victimsof violent crime have regret and guilt, knowing that they could for themost part have avoided becoming a victim and could have prevented theevil and abuse they suffered, if only they had prepared differently?While it is certainly the fault of the criminal for the crimecommitted, nevertheless, should not the victim look him/herself in themirror and realize, that he/she could have taken prior action to haveprevented this and as a matter of choice chose not to?
Thisis where we see significant moral decline. Criminals and crime havealways been with us and they always will be. We will not make eithercriminal or crime disappear as long as there is evil lurking in thehearts of humanity. Needless, to say, such evil will be among us untilthe time when Mashiah arrives. This may not be any time soon,therefore, until such time, how can anyone deny the common sense needto safeguard and defend oneself from clear and present danger.
Todeny the danger is a fundamental denial of reality. To deny one's ownresponsibility to protect oneself is a fundamental denial of reality.This is why it is not only a moral right, but an obligation for everycitizen to be armed, in whatever fashion necessary to confront evilcrime wherever and however it may come. When the average citizen doesnot take individual responsibility for oneself, but instead relies uponanother to do the job the individual should be doing oneself, in myopinion, this is one of the worst expressions of laziness and socialdisrespect.
Nosociety can maintain itself when its individual members refuse tocontribute each their fair share to the betterment of the society thatthey themselves have created. Protecting ourselves is an individualright and responsibility. Each and every citizen has the obligation totake care of and look after themselves. Whatever and however this needsto be done is what needs to be done. We have laws that safeguard life,liberty and property. These laws are sacred and each of us is obligatedto embrace them, to live by them and when called upon at a moment'snotice, defend them.
So,the proper response if and when one is confronted by a criminal, intentupon causing harm, is to wisely and in the best way defend oneself andif possible, stop the perpetrator using whatever necessary force thatthe circumstance requires. One cannot do this hand-to-hand unless oneis well trained in the martial arts. Even then, bullets still flyfaster than do fists or feet. Yet, if one was armed with an appropriatefirearm, or other tool of self-defense, then immediately upon awarenessof the immanent danger, one can draw one's firearm or tool and be readyto respond at a moment's notice. Such ability to respond, coupled withthe speedy response itself, saves lives, liberty and property. Formany, it can make the difference between life and death.
Moralityand common sense obligate us to be ready and prepared to face andconfront violence. The Bible is clear on this point, so is later Jewishtradition, and indeed so too does the Christian Bible teach this samelesson. In order to be so prepared, we need tools of self defense,specifically the type of tools necessary to face the specific threatthat one may realistically encounter.
Carryinga knife to a gun fight certainly is not enough. With the proliferationof criminal and drug gangs being armed with military style weaponry,the time has come when every responsible, moral, righteous, normal,common sense thinking citizen must practice their rights to selfdefense and, like the children of Israel leaving Egypt, go up armed toface and confront the danger that inherently comes in a world filledwith freedom and equally filled with those who want to rob you of yourfreedom, your properly and maybe even your life.
Itis the moral and responsible thing for every citizen to be armed at alltimes, with any type of self defense tool necessary for the potentialdangers that one may face on any given day, at any given moment. Onlythis preparedness and readiness secures freedom and safety. Withoutthis, every unarmed citizen is just a victim in waiting. Sooner orlater, the clueless and unarmed are targeted, and without enough commonsense to know how to best defend themselves they become victims.Victims in turn require many services to address their sufferings inmany categories. In many cases, this can become a significant burden onservice providers and the tax-payers who are called upon to pay forsuch services. This is socially irresponsible and morally wrong.
Commonsense should teach us that tools for self defense should be as commonand accessible as common sense itself. Unfortunately, common sense isno longer common and alongside of its absence we see an equal absenceof the awareness for self preservation. How well modern societies havebeen brainwashed into surrendering their most basic and fundamentalrights, the right to defend oneself against others seeking their harm.The sentiments that I have expressed in this essay are most certainlynot only my own. I cannot make any claim of originality here. Let meshare with you some other opinions spoken by others.
American President James Madison said, "Americanshave the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens ofother countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people witharms."
American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton said, "The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."
Constitutional scholar and Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story in 1840 said,"One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purposeswithout resistance, is, by disarming the people, and making it anoffense to keep arms."
U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings, in U.S. vs Emerson 1999 said "Historicalexamination of the right to bear arms, from English antecedents to thedrafting of the Second Amendment, bears proof that the right to beararms has consistently been, and should still be, construed as anindividual right."
Actor James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader) said, "Theworld is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decentlaw-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win andthe decent people will lose."
Even the famous Indian statesman and passivist Mohandas Gandhi stated"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will lookupon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."
On the other hand we have the likes of Adolf Hitler who said,"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit theconquered peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors whohave allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their owndownfall by doing so.
Long ago, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said, "Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of arms."
Historyand common sense have proven all things statements above to be correctand true. And still the brainwashed reject common sense and truth. Whenwill the sleepers awaken, before or after they are shot?
Shalom, HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok