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A Traditional Jewish Solution to the Hizbulla-Israel Prisoner Exchnage

Reader comment on item: Hezbollah's Victory, Israel's Decline

Submitted by Bert Zauderer (United States), Feb 4, 2004 at 08:41

Mr. Pipes
I find it interesting that in all the columns on this so called prisoner exchange, there was no mention of the traditional Jewish legal (Halacha) view on this subject.
I wrote a number of e mails to columnists on the JPost whose commented on the exchange, with no response or write up in the paper.
It seems that anything to do with the Jewish faith is anathema to Jewish secularists.
Anyway for your information here is the Halacha and Jewish history take on captive redemption.

The Mishnah tracate Gittim, Chapter 4, paragraph 6 rules:: "One does not redeem kidnapped Jews for more than their value".
Now one of the most famous examples of this ruling applies to Rabbi Meier of Rothernburg, Germany, the leading Torah scholar in late 13th century Europe, whose Halachic rulings are still followed today by observant Jews.
After a terrible increase in persecutions in Germany he decided to make Alyah to Israel (Yes there were "Zionists" in those days too)
In Italy an apostate Jew in the service of the Bishop of Basel recognized him and informed the Bishop, who then turned him over to the German Emperor Rudolf of Hapsburg. The latter demanded a massive ransom of 30,000 marks. (To place that figure in context, 100 years earlier, the German emperor demanded and received 50% of a ransom of 150, 000 marks for the English King Richard the Lion Heart. ). The ransom was raised, showing the wealth of Jews in that era, and also showing that they used this wealth to support what has been the greatest assembly of Torah scholars of the past 1000 years, including Raschi, Rabbenu Tam, Rashbam, etc, etc. . (This event also shows the anti-Semitsm of the gentile "Medieval Scholars" such as the "great" Belgium scholar Pirenne who wrote in 1933 that "Jews played a small part in the the affairs of the Middle Ages". The Jewish medievalist Golb wrote recently that this attitude persists among gentile European Medieval scholars to this day, but that is another story) R. Meier forbade German Jews to pay the ransom because the Emperor would keep pulling the same stunt over and over.. So he died in prison in 1293. Rudolf dropped dead in 1291 . R.Meier's body remained unburied in prison until 1307 when a rich Jews disobeyed R.Meier's ruling and paid a ransom on condition that when he died he would be buried next to the Rabbi. (I saw in the Jewish Encyclopedia a photo of a tombstone in a Worms, Germany cemetary that is supposed to mark his grave. However, I doubt anyone knows about this nor visits it.. Yet R. Meier "lives" every day in studies of his rulings in every Yeshiva in the World.
In case you wonder where the Justice lay in this matter. A yearl later in 1308 Albrecht, Rudolph's son, and German Emperor at the time, was murdered by his two nephews in an argument over some inheritance.

To return to the present, redeeming the 3 bodies was indeed a Mitzvah. However, it endangers other Jews who are now in harms way from those released prisoners., and another law in tractate Bava Kamma states: One does not perform a Mitzvah (Good Deed) at someone else's expense
Even the actions of Israel's government in recent decades is predicted in the Talmud. It states that at the beginning of the Age of the Final Redemption, Jews will be ruled by descendants of the "Mixed Multitude" (the gentiles that decided to tag along during the Exodus from Egypt, and convert to Judaism. They immediatly proceeded to cause trouble by building the Golden Calf.)

Dr. Bert Zauderer, Sc.D.

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Reader comments (68) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
being able to understand a couple of things [110 words]peter caveFeb 26, 2004 10:0614001
The Tide Has Turned!! [55 words]david cohenFeb 20, 2004 21:5313958
Hezbollah wins one [62 words]Peter J. HerzFeb 12, 2004 04:1413853
SWAP OF DETAINEES [35 words]KHALAF ASKHAROUNFeb 10, 2004 19:2313832
Re:prisoner swap [165 words]Cheryl PineFeb 7, 2004 16:5013801
Factual writer [30 words]Poonam BhatiaFeb 7, 2004 13:3513799
Has Sharon lost his mind? [75 words]Mike HindsFeb 6, 2004 13:1113790
Did the Soldiers Want This Done? [74 words]Pat KunzFeb 6, 2004 11:4813787
How many more?? [120 words]Ray ExleyFeb 6, 2004 00:1913780
Shocked [171 words]Alex M. Bar-Elan (nee Berlin)Feb 5, 2004 20:1213773
"G-d helps those who help themselves" [125 words]Dr. Ed ThompsonFeb 5, 2004 16:4213772
cannot beat israel [15 words]pumaApr 10, 2006 17:5313772
You cut to the heart of it.......and it makes me crazy! [177 words]Judith M. ClassenFeb 5, 2004 16:1813771
Prisoner exchange [345 words]Ronnie GarberFeb 5, 2004 15:3813769
An Excellent analysis of the recent "pathetic" deal between Israel & Hezbollah [67 words]Avrham WeissmanFeb 5, 2004 15:0413768
your excellent commentary on the 'exchange' [305 words]cal hubbardFeb 5, 2004 13:1413764
Hezbollah's Victory,Israel's Decline,Art. No.1505 [127 words]S.C.PandaFeb 5, 2004 04:2313759
The Answer [71 words]jack SweetmanFeb 5, 2004 04:0713758
so simple so true [13 words]Laura MaizelsFeb 5, 2004 02:1413755
"Hezbollah's victory, Israel's Decline" [231 words]Lisette MuradFeb 4, 2004 22:4513753
fair trade? [65 words]Shayne MorrowFeb 4, 2004 16:1113746
Swapping of prisoners [148 words]JeremyFeb 4, 2004 15:2513745
appeasing whom? [169 words]john w mcginelyFeb 4, 2004 13:1213742
Israel has no heart on this matter [342 words]ScotFeb 4, 2004 12:0913741
suicide bombing immediately prior to release? [70 words]rrosenbaumFeb 4, 2004 09:4513737
A Traditional Jewish Solution to the Hizbulla-Israel Prisoner Exchnage [603 words]Bert ZaudererFeb 4, 2004 08:4113735
Negotiating with terrorists [51 words]WaheedFeb 4, 2004 05:5813732
negotiate! [7 words]tamiMar 2, 2006 14:1013732
Where is Israel going to? [453 words]Robert J KennedyFeb 4, 2004 03:1113730
It makes me embarrassed to be Israeli [35 words]Louis GordonFeb 4, 2004 02:3313729
Israel's decline [177 words]Ely SilkFeb 4, 2004 02:2213728
I Agree 100% [90 words]AvrahamFeb 4, 2004 00:1613727
Israel must be crazy [207 words]steve beinartFeb 3, 2004 23:0113725
dan bullseye again [46 words]JERRY BORISFeb 3, 2004 19:4013720
Hezbollah's Victory, Israel's Decline [21 words]Joe Halbach,SrFeb 3, 2004 19:0113718
Exchange of prisoners [54 words]Joanne PrivesFeb 3, 2004 18:0013716
Sharon's selective loss of memory [75 words]David HarrisFeb 3, 2004 15:5613715
Brilliant Expose, Blinded Leaders [86 words]John GlueckFeb 3, 2004 15:5213714
Big and dangerous mistake. [55 words]Ali DashtiFeb 3, 2004 15:2413709
withdrawal from new housing [330 words]Sir Daniel TobinFeb 3, 2004 15:0513708
ISRAEL'S INCONCLUSIVE POLICY [565 words]David M. DastychFeb 3, 2004 15:0513707
You are exactly right [28 words]Martin E. WeinsteinFeb 3, 2004 14:1513706
Republic - Not....... [238 words]MikeFeb 3, 2004 13:4313705
Incredible... [242 words]Janice SentaraFeb 3, 2004 13:2013704
Prisoner swap: three card monte, redux. [249 words]Dov Sussman, Esq.Feb 3, 2004 13:0613703
Israel Practices Self-sacrifice of German Immanuel Kant [470 words]Paul SaundersFeb 3, 2004 12:4113700
Hezbollah's Victory, Israel's Decline [120 words]Jacob SlabiakFeb 3, 2004 12:2613699
Prisoner swap [78 words]Jonathan KeilerFeb 3, 2004 11:3413697
Here's another angle on the ridiculous prisoner swap [98 words]Mark D. GrossFeb 3, 2004 11:2313696
Israel's Decline [17 words]Steve GureFeb 3, 2004 10:5813695
Why? [81 words]rmFeb 3, 2004 10:1213693
Arik Sharon: a tragic loss of focus [78 words]Marvin RabinovitchFeb 3, 2004 10:0413692
Prisoners as future informers? [26 words]JoaquimFeb 3, 2004 09:5613691
Israel wants Tannenbaum [96 words]Steven SternFeb 3, 2004 09:5313690
Hezbollah Victory, I do not think so, Israel's Decline, I do not think so [493 words]Bill JacksonFeb 3, 2004 09:4713689
A demoralizing defeat [165 words]Richard L. RubensteinFeb 3, 2004 09:4313688
Such sadness for Israel [118 words]Kim SegarFeb 3, 2004 09:3913687
hostage swap [247 words]ken schwartzFeb 3, 2004 09:3313686
Terrorism's Victory [112 words]Dr. Arnold (Avi) YoskowitzFeb 3, 2004 09:3213685
Sharon did the right thing [44 words]AMerican Jewish Muslim AllianceFeb 3, 2004 09:2013682
Sacrifice of the Lambs [129 words]Kimberly FergusonFeb 3, 2004 09:2013681
Toward the world of Ahimsa [68 words]IkranagaraFeb 3, 2004 09:1413679
The value of one Jew [53 words]Chaim BelisowskiFeb 3, 2004 09:0513678
Morality- No! Stupidity - Yes! [8 words]Bernard FreedmanFeb 3, 2004 08:5913677
It was not only a moral decision- it was a Jewish one! [197 words]Dona InselbergFeb 3, 2004 08:0913676
SHARON IS A CATASROPHIE! [27 words]PROF. Richard MILLMANFeb 3, 2004 07:5813675

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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