Since my last blog, the murdered bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel were discovered, and their families–joined by all Israel–laid them to rest. Before we could take a breath, we heard the report of another abduction and murder, this time in Jerusalem itself, of another youth, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, possibly in revenge.
Just as the murder of three Jewish youths violated Torah, so did the murder of this Arab youth, whatever its motive. Yishai Fraenkel, Naftali’s uncle, told Israeli reporters, “There is no difference between blood and blood. A murderer is a murderer, no matter his nationality and age. There is no justification, no forgiveness and no atonement for any murder.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com, accessed 7/3/14.)
We might argue whether in Messiah Yeshua there could be atonement even for murder, but Fraenkel’s intended point remains: While we maintain our national grieving over the murder of our own, we also grieve the murder of our neighbor. One loss might be closer to us, but the other is just as reprehensible. Both crimes are a violation of the same divine image borne by all human beings, and therefore both are an affront to Hashem.
It is this universal quality of God’s perspective that Yeshua highlights in the passage that concluded my last blog: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your fellow and hate your enemy.’ Yet I say to you [eve n under the Roman occupation of the Land of Israel, and all that entails], love your enemies and pray for those who pursue you, so that you will be sons of your Father who is in heaven, who makes his sun shine for the evil and for the good and sends rain on the righteous as well as upon the wicked” (5:43–45).
May the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir be comforted in their time of mourning.