In Matot- Masai, this week’s Torah portion, we read about the horribly disturbing genocide of the Midianites. How can we understand Biblical justice regarding the war against Midian particularly? After the war the boys and women were brought back as prisoners of war. Moshe was upset with the soldiers and orders them to kill the boys and the women who are not virgins. Today we would call that a war crime. All the commentaries I have seen give answers I find troubling to some degree.
I am not sure that there is an answer, by searching for some shred of meaning in this horribly meaningless mass killing got me thinking about their situation wandering in the desert and their sense of fear. They were a group of landless and vulnerable refugees. Maybe killing the Midianites sent a clear message to all of the neighbors. Maybe it was some sort of deterrent. Do not mess with us.
This reminds of the scene near the end of Dr. Strangelove. A rogue missile was deployed at Russia and they are trying to stop a full out nuclear war. Dr. Strangelove says,” Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, EH?” Ambassador de Sadesky replies,”It was to be announced at the Party Congress on Monday. As you know, the Premier loves surprises.” It is clear that Moshe had this power as the leader, but just because he could do this does not mean that he should have. Ultimately genocide begets genocide, violence begets violence, and hate begets hate.
Sadly it seems that Trump has not yet got that message. As Joe Scarborough reported recently, “Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump. And three times [Trump] asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked at one point if we had them why can’t we use them.” This is troubling to say the least. This is no secret. If we have questions about Moshe’s leadership, I have none about Trump. Trump is unfit to govern or lead and he should not have his finger on the nuclear codes. George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Yes people are afraid and feel lost, but the answer is not hate, violence, and it certainly is not Donald Trump. Love Trumps Hate. Enough complaining lets get out the vote. Stop Trump.