The Torah states “Do not burn any fire in your homes on the sabbath” (Exodus 35:3) which is understood both literally not to start fires and metaphorically not to engage in anger and conflict (machloket) which is likened to fire (Shlah HaKadosh, parshat hachodesh).
As life threatening fires rage throughout Israel and thousands of people are forced to evacuate their homes, I feel additionally concerned for the rage of anger that may continue well after the fires are extinguished towards Muslims/ Palestinians due to the possibility that some of these fires were acts of terror.
I pray first and foremost that the fires should be extinguished, no one should be harmed and that everyone displaced should be able to return to their homes by Shabbat. I also pray that no one should let their fears and anger burn with hatred with no distinction and nuance.
I have heard several stories of Palestinians opening up their homes to Israelis to stay during the fires and Palestinian firefighters working side by side Israelis fighting the fires in Haifa and Jerusalem.
Please God may you help us extinguish all these fires as we enter into Shabbat.
Pardes360 is a series of responses to world current events by Pardes faculty in 360 words (or sometimes a few more). The views expressed in the articles are those of the author and do not reflect and institutional stance. To read other Pardes360 articles, click here.
Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth is the Director Emeritus of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution and an adjunct faculty member. He taught at Pardes for over twenty years and is now the Director of Mosaica - The Religious Peace Initiative. He also teaches graduate courses on religion and peace building at Bar-Ilan University’s Conflict Resolution, Management and Negotiation Graduate Program, as well as at Tel Aviv University’s International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation, and at Hebrew University’s Coexistence in the Middle East summer program. Roth initiated Pardes's Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively and the 9Adar Project: Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict, known in Israel as DiburHadash: The Israeli Week of Mediation and Dialogue. Roth is a regular lecturer of MEJDI (multi-narrative) Tours and National Geographic. He was a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. He holds a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University’s Conflict Resolution Program, MA in Talmud from Hebrew University, B.Ed in Jewish Philosophy and Talmud from Herzog Teachers’ College, and studied for eight years in Yeshivat Har-Etzion during which time he received rabbinic ordination. Click here to read more.