I live in a country with wars raging on all sides, with failed states collapsing into a primordial stew of hatred and nihilism an hour’s drive north of me, with suicidal regimes seeking nuclear weapons in order to carry out their expressed goals of obliterating me, my family, and everyone with whom I interact on a daily basis. But for all this, I don’t feel as if I’m living in a war zone. We know about death and we know about weapons of war, but we don’t fetishize them. How is it that Americans seem willing to arm the enemy within for the sake of security?
The receiving of the Torah marks the official incorporation of Am Yisrael—the final step in the transition from disparate individuals with a common kinship and history into a people, bound to each other by irrevocable decree. And yet, there is some question of whether the Covenant was a voluntary agreement.
Former Sonderkommando Ovadya ben Malka discusses the nature of evil with Rabbi Ish-Shalom: Was the Holocaust really the work of psychopathic monsters or of people like you and me, whose choices led them to inhuman actions?