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What is the Difference?

posted by mkress

Judaism has always been a religion that focuses on, teaches, ritualizes the ability to tell the differences between things: the difference between Shabbat and the rest of the week; the difference between kosher and non-kosher food; the difference between shatnes (linen and wool mixtures) and other fabrics. The ability to distinguish differences is the beginning of discernment, and discernment is an essential component of wisdom.

I am guessing educators know this because I have seen the games of find the differences most often in educational settings. As a child, one of the only consolations for visiting the dentist’s office was the chance to look at Highlights magazine. My favorite section was comparing two pictures to find the differences between the two.

I was reminded of these two tableaus, and the importance of being able to see differences, as I watched the news of the war between Hezbollah and Israel the other night. There is really very little balance in the news reports. Large chunks of time are spent on Lebanese civilian deaths and destruction and very little on the death, destruction, and dislocation on the Israeli side.

So for every news segment, I thought of the missing images: The poor, the children, the elderly in Haifa, Kiryat Shmona, Tzefat, Afula, Israeli Jews and also Israeli Arabs, people who huddle in extremely hot bomb shelters day in and day out in fear for their lives from Hezbollah rockets. Israeli families crying, mourning the loss of loved ones from the rocket barrages, a hundred a day. The streets of normally bustling Haifa ghostly quiet, deserted. Apartment after apartment destroyed.

And here are some of the differences I found:

  • Hezbollah makes an effort to target innocent Israeli civilians. Israel makes an effort to target Hezbollah rocket locations.
  • Unprovoked, Hezbollah crossed their border to attack Israeli cities in aggressive actions of rocket attacks and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, who were in Israel at the time. Israel is crossing its border to defend itself and its citizens from attack.
  • When Hezbollah kills Israeli civilians, its fighters cheer and celebrate. When Israelis kill Lebanese civilians, they mourn and apologize.
  • Hezbollah used Lebanese civilians as cover for their terrorism. Israel asks civilians to leave so they will not be hurt.
  • Hezbollah’s fighters are a paramilitary organization that is holding all of Lebanon hostage. Israel’s fighters are its army, who reports to the democratically elected leaders of its nation’s government.
  • Hezbollah wants to destroy another sovereign nation, Israel. Israel wants to live in peace with its neighbors.

These are some of the differences I found. Perhaps you can find more.

Posted by Rabbi Susan Grossman



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Rick Abrams

posted August 11, 2006 at 9:08 pm


Everything you said was true and irrelevant. Nice words and being morally right didn’t save 6 Million last time and they won’t save us this time. Mexicans have the word “Malinche.” Until now I never heard a Yiddish word for traitor — I know it must exist. For those of us who survive the next Holocaust maybe we will be like the Mexicans and derive a word from the name of the people most responsible for the genocide. Shall we coin the term “Olmertcide”?



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janet muir

posted August 11, 2006 at 9:17 pm


So, God is not relevant to your decisions to kill and murder others?? The only possible reason to legitimize the Jewish takeover of Palestine is that God gave that land to Israel 2000 years ago. If God is irrelevant then so is the Jewish claim to Palestine. Peace



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Steve Sturdevant

posted August 11, 2006 at 9:30 pm


Political power doesn’t come out of the barrel of a gun. Israel has the right to defend itself. Israel has the right to escalate it’s response according to increased attacks. Israel has the right to kill all the Hezbollah fighters. The problem is, those solutions won’t work. You can’t shoot your way out of a political situation, and I’ve got 5,000 years of history to prove it.



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Elizabeth

posted August 11, 2006 at 10:09 pm


are you people mentally ill?? no other country would sit idlely by and let its civillians be bombed and killed daily by hundreds of these rockets being lobbed by these terrorists palestinians who are not even lebanese to top it off….just parasites there…then they invade israel and we’re supposed to just sit back and allow this??????????? are you nutssssssssssssssssssssss???? and its not 2000 years DEARY!!!! its over 5000………read your bible…oppps not yours ours!! historical side note…the brits created the so called ‘palistinians’, b4 that they were just landless wandering arabs from jordan and btw, 95% of jordan is made up of them….we need to finally just rocket all of them to jorden and be done with their decades of suicide bombing children and women & men on buses @ resterants and night clubs and malls …enough of this shit!! fight back for the land that has always been JEWISH…..did you people forget our Moses??? our King David ??? our King Solomon??? well guess what………..Israel has always been a JEWSIH land and is thank G-d now once again….now just to clean it out of arabs muderers. that will get done…Im not alone on this idea.



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Elizabeth

posted August 11, 2006 at 10:12 pm


JEWISH LAND>>>>>>>> my typo



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ildik

posted August 12, 2006 at 3:10 pm


i’m afraid, you are painfully biased



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Lebanese and Proud

posted August 12, 2006 at 8:02 pm


You call this peace, you’re telling me that Hezbollah was unprovoked. Stop telling lies to yourself and to the rest of the world, cause unfortunatly IGNORANT people believe your lies… You are not only painfully biased, but since you call your self a man of GOD then you should know the responsiblity that you have chosen for yourself and earn to first KNOW then SPEAK…



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Joy

posted August 13, 2006 at 12:11 am


I have never understood the media. Yes, it is biased. Yes it shows civilians killed by Israel. I am not Jewish, this one sided reporting does make me angry and if someone has a way to fight a war and not kill civilians I wish they would speak up because I just can’t seem to find a way to do that. Amazing, we lost thousands on 911 and liberals in this country still defended the terrorists right to kill.



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ildik

posted August 13, 2006 at 12:23 am


for growth, someone would like to convey a sincere and thought-out opinion, especially towards persons who consider themselves liberal and democratic. though, from observation, i stop, to reconsider, of how does it make sense, to attempt in giving a more detailed, yet in utilizing reason, a tactful, conscious and critical opinion about the shadow of israel, when in response (or, shall i say reaction), my views could possibly be rejected, simply, under the label “anti-semitic”, (even if this term wouldnt be stated openly). no offense, but at least sometimes, it seems that this term or label, is becoming used, more and more out of homophobia/paranoia, or even ego superiority, than in giving a real chance towards sharing geniune views–however contrasting–that would prefer stemming from soul and humility, than from ego’s/logic’s proud stubborn and cunning-trap. if this true openess was to be welcomed, then i believe, there could be more of an efficient chance to finally start moving forward into understanding one another, towards spiritual development, thus humanity in having a reliable future.



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fatima

posted August 13, 2006 at 9:21 pm


U Isrealis and their supporters have in their scripture the uncensoreed version of the babylonian talmud to treat non jews as subhumans whereas the other religinf othe world including Islam prohibits this strctly. even thugh they are kafirs or disbelievers. in ur talmud the book of sanhedrins 57a . 55b it says if agentile iils aisralei or even hits him he should be punished and if isrealite kills acutehean even unnecesarily ther is no sin. u guys think u are the chosen people of god if u were chosen god will not have snet any troubles to jews and their families in the years that have gone by. u jews abuse jesus ( ISa ) and his mother the blessed mary with scorning remarks and call her awhore in ur book talmud. and also claim that jesus prcaticed sorcery in fact . u guys are the originators of black magic u kabbal deals with demonlogy ur festival purim delas with that too. and whover reveals ur secrets according to ur sick and insane book should be put to death. but there are may in the world who know ur sick truths how many of gods creation wil u kill for ur benefit u thinm u will win never. if u dont take lessons to what happened to tyrants in history . then u are the biggest fols on earth . ur atrocities inshallah will end soon with the death of israel. u are trouble makers of the world. ur book babkamma it says it is ok to lie to non jews it also says in ur books if ajew should commit asin he should go to different city where he is not recognised. and ther are many ore sick things in that sick book including bestiality what ashame and then u call urslef to be good side. shame shame .



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fatima

posted August 13, 2006 at 9:27 pm


for all those intersted read the uncensored version of talmud babylonian talmud . even the censored version will have many things any human being with agod consciences will be surprised to read . according to ur book one million arabs are not worth ajewsish finger naiol. just wait and watch within this centurye inshllah Israel will be eradicated form the face of this planet when christians also come to know ur ugly reality. of calling urself chosen peopl and doing all kinds of shit. u think u are stronger than god and can do any evil well god is only making u increase in ur sins so that he can send asvere punsihsment on u just like he sent on ur ally sharon he can neither live nor die . ask him if u can how he feels. u will know.



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christina

posted August 13, 2006 at 9:28 pm


911 was undobtedly commited by Us goverment and with collobaoraytion of Isrealis and sharon



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christina

posted August 13, 2006 at 9:29 pm


agree with ur coments above fa



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DSG

posted August 14, 2006 at 9:38 pm


I just wish all this hatred ends soon. Don’t want any innocent to be killed. I am an Indian. Don’t know if my thoughts account for something in this forum. But, yes, I think what Israel is doing is correct. Self-defence is what Israel is doing. The entire muslim world is up against Israel… I fail to understand why! There is too much hatred in Muslims. That needs to be neutralised. But, I don’t know how. It is a sad situation today….I just wish peace….



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DSG

posted August 14, 2006 at 9:59 pm


Hey! Fatima, going back to the books… Talmud, Bible, Quran won’t help. One has to understand and differentiate what is right and what is wrong. It is because of people like you that there is so much violence in this world. If you blame the Talmud, try to understand what Quran teaches. It is the same… all infidels(Non-muslims) deserve to die… that is what it teaches…. if you want to look at it that way. But I don’t choose to look at it that way. That is why, I have close friends amongst Christians and Muslims and Sikhs and Hindus…. and I think I am a good enough person who tries to imbibe good things from all religions, rather than following one religion blindly. (By the way, my closest friend is a Muslim, who reads her Namaz five times a day, covers her head at all times, observes all rituals and yet is the kindest, most wonderful human being I have come across!!! She believes strongly in ‘zakaat’ and spends a lot of time working for underprivileged children…. without bothering to find out what religion they belong to. She is the one who taught me about Islam…) If everyone were just like us, same ideals, same religion, same language, what fun would there be knowing another person, another culture? Please try to be more compassionate. And as far Israel is concerned, they need to fight back! Killing of civilians is wrong. But they aren’t the only ones doing it. And I, for one, don’t believe that they are doing it willingly. What happened 5000 years back is really irrelevant…. We need to look at how we can be at peace TODAY and in the future. And peace has no place for hatred. Israel is such a tiny nation (area-wise). Can’t the Muslim countries give the Jews (even if you think that Israel is 100% Jew), that much space and have good relations with them? If killing was the only option, Fatima, Muslims would be the first to be killed… for peace! Even if you think Israel is creating trouble, they are only doing so in the middle east. Muslims are doing it all over the world. Do you want everyone killed? My own family members have been killed by Muslims, in cold blood. But, I am wise enough to know that those who commit such crimes belong to no religion, certainly not Islam. Rise above hatred Fatima… hatred can only lead to more hatred. Israel has agreed to ceasefire. Let this be the beginning of a new era of peace… I know I am being optimistic, but that is the only way, right? May Allah guide you to peace!



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Steve Sturdevant

posted August 14, 2006 at 10:33 pm


“Israel is such a tiny nation (area-wise). Can’t the Muslim countries give the Jews (even if you think that Israel is 100% Jew), that much space and have good relations with them? Given that the Muslim countries can’t, then there must be something more to it. So what is that? Isreal is such a small country, but so powerful militarily and economically. I think this creates a sense of humiliation amoung Arabs. How can the Isreali society create this and not the Arab society? Look at this war not in terms of kill or be killed, not in terms of hearts and minds, but in terms of shame and honor.



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Judy

posted August 15, 2006 at 9:25 pm


I am a pacifist. I have lived my life making no enemies, losing no friends except to death, and finding that because we are human beings, we all have a thousand things in common and very few differences. I see the commonalities and cast aside the differences as too little to be considered. We are humans, first. It is not what someone has done to me, or what they should do, could have done. It’s what WE (they and I) can do, NOW.



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DSG

posted August 15, 2006 at 9:53 pm


Hi Steve, Yes, there is more to what I have said. The issue is too complex for you or me to decide alone on. The way Israel has stood up for herself, is commendable. Very few countries in the world have done that. But peace is NECESSARY. Jews have suffered enough! History bears testimony to that. I just wish all this hate ends….. you know… so that everyone can live in peace. Following one’s own religion should not be an excuse to persecute others. I don’t know what religion you follow, where you thoughts lie, which country you are from. But, I am sure, you too want peace, right?



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SilverThorn

posted August 16, 2006 at 7:31 am


No country should go on an all-scale war with a tiny population. Israel has forgotten its past; they are the Assyrians, who once enslaved them…they were the persecuted, but with the help of advanced technology, they go about and kill their enemies. Alas, those involved who kill will suffer major repercussions in the future…



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ildik

posted August 16, 2006 at 5:45 pm


dsg, you speak like, it is okay for israel to fight back, because their actions are more like retribution. well, it appears that you havent looked at the ratio, between how many of those were killed by israel/usa, and how many by the “terrorist”. or maybe you do know, of the disproportion, but are too wounded to see objectively. moreover, israel is not a small “victim” fighting alone. there is america enabling. while it enables, without the needed scrutiny for objectivity and humanitarian purposes, hate will most likely just intensify. you wrote: Can’t the Muslim countries give the Jews (even if you think that Israel is 100% Jew), that much space and have good relations with them? ask this from an iraeli, especially from an influential one…ask them, if they would be willing to share the land with a palestinian who have lived there for over a 1000 yrs., that their government had suddenly ripped away from a palestinian, killed their loved ones, while doing it, or otherwise….ask them, if they would bring back that land and those loved ones to the palestinian(s) and moreover to be willing to share that land today with a palestinian, as well as sharing the city that the palestinians refer to, as their holy city jerusalem. please, go ahead and ask, sincerely if you dare, and you can respond back.



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yuri

posted August 16, 2006 at 6:38 pm


Yes, there is a Yiddish word for “traitor” — “musser” (or “moser” in Sephardic) — he who hands over. The best way to solve Israel’s problems is to make it a truly Jewish state — enlightened, progressive, magnanimous. The one way to accomplish this is to turn the country over to the Jews by hanging all the Zionists.



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eastcoastlady

posted August 17, 2006 at 6:27 pm


Between Fatima’s outright lies about what’s in Talmud and its meaning, as well as Christina’s delusions about U.S. Government and Israeli involvement in 9-11, it’s clear that we will never get past hate and baseless accusation to a lasting world peace.



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terri

posted August 22, 2006 at 7:19 pm


Has anyone picked up a bible lately? Fair or unfair is something we as people really Do Not have the right to choose. The descisions were made along time ago. Everything that is happening is foretold in the bible very clearly. With every act we bring about another foretold event. We as people Do Have the right to decide how fast we bring these things about. I think it is sad that we cannot stop and see where we are headed. I pray that this will change. God says to Love your neighbor as yourself! That goes for BOTH sides.



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Steve Sturdevant

posted August 28, 2006 at 3:21 pm


dsg: “I don’t know what religion you follow, where you thoughts lie, which country you are from. But, I am sure, you too want peace, right?” I’m a Baptist, I live in Louisville, KY, and I want peace, just like everyone else. Except that everyone doesn’t want peace. Or on the other hand, everyone wants peace and they’re all willing to fught for it. If everyone wanted peace, we’d have it so there must be more to it than that. Everyone wants peace, on his own terms.



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shelly

posted August 31, 2006 at 8:19 pm


Idilko, I don’t know how old you are or where you’re from but when Israel was in control of all Jeruselem everyone could go to their holy places – Jew, Christian or Muslim. When the Muslims were in control that did not happen. You need to pick up an Encyclopedia and check some facts, because you are spouting a lot of rhetoric and most of it is not based on fact. Shelly



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