Rabbi Marvin Hier, Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance
“Yadeinu Lo Shafchu et Hadam Hazeh.” — “Our hands did not spill this blood.” (Deuteronomy 21: 7)
The Torah teaches us that leaders of a nearby city made this declaration after the discovery of an unknown corpse. The obvious question is ‘Why?’ They weren’t involved in the murder.
Commentator Sforno explains that the city leaders must declare they didn’t knowingly let a killer roam the land. The Maharal of Prague declares that they didn’t know the stranger, otherwise they could have warned him of pending dangers.
Once again, Americans grieve over innocent students and teachers gunned down in their schools. Who can declare, “Our hands did not spill this blood”? Not the National Rifle Association, which bristles at any suggestion of removing weapons like the AR-15; not the doctors who see patients whom they know should be barred from ever having access to any weapon; not the peers who won’t “snitch” on a former classmate; not YouTube that allows the racist and anti-Semitic Republic of Florida militia to post a “Gas the Jews” video; not the media, which guarantees instant stardom to the murderers!
As we grieve for the 17, among them five Jewish victims, let us each look in the mirror and ask, “Can I declare my hands are clean?”