Re’he: ( רְאֵה ) Destroy those of other faiths in your land? Kill your family or friend?


You may look at those old texts of inspiration.  Little of that can be said of the passages in this weeks parasha, truly troublesome passages, which are showing clear bias and intolerance of others.  What’s more a licence to murder even one’s own daughter, wife or friend, or even slaughter the inhabitants of an entire town for the crime of worshipping other gods.

Once again we get a divine instruction to behave beyond acceptable norms.

We read in Deuteronomy 12.2 and 12.3

You must  destroy all the places where the nations, that you shall possess, worshipped their gods, upon the lofty mountains and upon the hills, and under every luxeriant tree. ב. אַבֵּד תְּאַבְּדוּן אֶת כָּל הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ שָׁם הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם יֹרְשִׁים אֹתָם אֶת אֱלֹהֵיהֶם עַל הֶהָרִים הָרָמִים וְעַל הַגְּבָעוֹת וְתַחַת כָּל עֵץ רַעֲנָן:
3. And you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments, burn their asherim with fire, cut down the graven images of their gods, and destroy their name from that place. ג. וְנִתַּצְתֶּם אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם וְשִׁבַּרְתֶּם אֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם וַאֲשֵׁרֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ וּפְסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם תְּגַדֵּעוּן וְאִבַּדְתֶּם אֶת שְׁמָם מִן הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא:

and then most astonishing: 13.7 a licence to kill family that goes to worship other gods:

7. If your brother, the son of your mother, tempts you in secret or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your embrace, or your friend, who is as your own soul saying, “Let us go and worship other gods, which neither you, nor your forefathers have known.” ז. כִּי יְסִיתְךָ אָחִיךָ בֶן אִמֶּךָ אוֹ בִנְךָ אוֹ בִתְּךָ אוֹ | אֵשֶׁת חֵיקֶךָ אוֹ רֵעֲךָ אֲשֶׁר כְּנַפְשְׁךָ בַּסֵּתֶר לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה וְנַעַבְדָה אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַעְתָּ אַתָּה וַאֲבֹתֶיךָ:
8. Of the gods of the peoples around you, [whether] near to you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; ח. מֵאֱלֹהֵי הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתֵיכֶם הַקְּרֹבִים אֵלֶיךָ אוֹ הָרְחֹקִים מִמֶּךָּ מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ וְעַד קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ:
9. You shall not desire him, and you shall not hearken to him; neither shall you pity him, have mercy upon him, nor shield him. ט. לֹא תֹאבֶה לוֹ וְלֹא תִשְׁמַע אֵלָיו וְלֹא תָחוֹס עֵינְךָ עָלָיו וְלֹא תַחְמֹל וְלֹא תְכַסֶּה עָלָיו:
10. But you shall surely kill him, your hand shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. י. כִּי הָרֹג תַּהַרְגֶנּוּ יָדְךָ תִּהְיֶה בּוֹ בָרִאשׁוֹנָה לַהֲמִיתוֹ וְיַד כָּל הָעָם בָּאַחֲרֹנָה:
11. And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. יא. וּסְקַלְתּוֹ בָאֲבָנִים וָמֵת כִּי בִקֵּשׁ לְהַדִּיחֲךָ מֵעַל יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:
12. And all Israel shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer do any evil such as this in your midst. יב. וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּן וְלֹא יוֹסִפוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת כַּדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה בְּקִרְבֶּךָ:

not satisfied with that the passage gives licence to kill an entire town, starting at 13:

If you hear in one of your cities which the Lord, your God, is giving you to dwell therein, saying, יג. כִּי תִשְׁמַע בְּאַחַת עָרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לָשֶׁבֶת שָׁם לֵאמֹר:
14. “Unfaithful men have gone forth from among you and have led the inhabitants of their city astray, saying, ‘Let us go and worship other gods, which you have not known.’ “ יד. יָצְאוּ אֲנָשִׁים בְּנֵי בְלִיַּעַל מִקִּרְבֶּךָ וַיַּדִּיחוּ אֶת ישְׁבֵי עִירָם לֵאמֹר נֵלְכָה וְנַעַבְדָה אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדַעְתֶּם:
15. Then you shall inquire, investigate, and ask thoroughly, and, behold, it is true, the matter is certain, that such abomination has been committed in your midst: טו. וְדָרַשְׁתָּ וְחָקַרְתָּ וְשָׁאַלְתָּ הֵיטֵב וְהִנֵּה אֱמֶת נָכוֹן הַדָּבָר נֶעֶשְׂתָה הַתּוֹעֵבָה הַזֹּאת בְּקִרְבֶּךָ:
16. You shall surely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroy it with all that is in it and its livestock, with the edge of the sword. טז. הַכֵּה תַכֶּה אֶת ישְׁבֵי הָעִיר הַהִוא לְפִי חָרֶב הַחֲרֵם אֹתָהּ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר בָּהּ וְאֶת בְּהֶמְתָּהּ לְפִי חָרֶב:
17. And you shall collect all its spoil into the midst of its open square, and burn with fire the city and all its spoil, completely, for the Lord, your God; and it shall be a heap of destruction forever, never to be rebuilt. יז. וְאֶת כָּל שְׁלָלָהּ תִּקְבֹּץ אֶל תּוֹךְ רְחֹבָהּ וְשָׂרַפְתָּ בָאֵשׁ אֶת הָעִיר וְאֶת כָּל שְׁלָלָהּ כָּלִיל לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהָיְתָה תֵּל עוֹלָם לֹא תִבָּנֶה עוֹד:

Debt remission is to occur after seven years, however the passage takes exception to foreigners:

Deut 15. 3 “From the foreigner you may exact; but what is yours with your brother, your hand shall release.

Haftarah Isaiah 54:11

The kind of talk in any religious texts, follow me and any one who attacks you wil fall and be defeated.

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