Israel Forever

For the week ending 27 March 2004 / 5 Nisan 5764

The Violent and the Pure

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Juvenile crime is at an all-time high in Israel.

According to the annual police report the number of juvenile police files opened in 2003 rose to a record 33,957, up from 31,714 the year before. Inspector General Shlomo Aharonishky explained the increase as a result of the police crackdown on school violence.

The Police Chief correctly blamed Israeli society when he told reporters, "It is impossible to ask why youths are violent and why youths use drugs when the society is violent."

As Jews this Shabbat hear the weekly portion of Vayikra, which introduces the Torah chapters on sacrifices, they should reflect on the custom of Jewish children beginning their study of Chumash (the Five Books of the Torah) with the opening words of this chapter. The reason for this given by our Sages is "Let the pure ones the young child come and be involved with the pure ones the sacrifices offered in the Sanctuary."

Children raised with concepts of purity rather than with the vulgarity and violence of modern entertainment are not candidates for police files on juvenile crime. Some voices are being heard in Israel for instituting a night curfew on youths, or at least on the dens of iniquity which they inhabit till the early hours of the morning. Even if this were feasible it would be no more than a very partial solution. As long as Israeli society grows in its impurity by imitating the worst of the western world, it cannot expect its youth to be pure. Since it is this youth that is the future of our nation, there is a need to purify our society so that its "pure ones" will not become corrupted but will be the pride of Israel forever.

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