Saving One’s Own First

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3 Responses

  1. David Bildner says:

    I feel presumptuous in commenting on this topic, but here goes. While I find the level of emuna demonstrated by the father in R’ Tzevi Hirsch Meisels’ story admirable, I also find the story troubling. There are 2 ways to look at the world and our interactions with it: either the world and all action has a default value of permissible except where there is a specific prohibition that excludes our participation. or the world and all participation in it has a default value of prohibited except where we have specific exemption from the prohibition of action and are thus permitted to participate in a narrowly circumscribed circumstance. It appears to me that the father is of the first school – all human activity is forbidden unless we are given a specific dispensation from the general prohibition of Jewish participation in the world. This outlook clashes badly with my deeply held (but not deeply educated) view of G-d as wanting us to enjoy and use the world He created for us. It is not wrong to enjoy and appreciate G-d’s world. That is why we have blessings to recite when we enjoy the things that G-d put in the world for us or appreciate the wonders of nature. To me, the ooposing view seems almost blasphemous, or at least deeply lacking in an appreciation of all the good that G-d does for us.

  2. Richard Wolpoe says:

    AISI, Avniut of Moshe was his total submission to G-d, a kind of ego-lessness. It does not mean he was paralyzed by worthlessness, rather he had not personal axe to grind and was totally dedicated to the Divine w/o any personal gain. A mother’s self-less devotion ot her child might mimic this kind of selfless unconditional love. this maternal instinct may bring a mother to logically-defying feats of sterngth to protect her beloved child [think of the prvoerbil little lady lifting a car to save her chlid!] So ws Moses’ dedication, replete with superhuman devotion!

  1. כ״ט באלול תשע״א – Wed, Sep 28, 2011

    […] (In an earlier blog entry, I explored how this idea would have applied in cases of the Holocaust. When Victor Frankl asserted that the Holocaust cost us our most idealistic people, that anyone who survived had to have the ability to place saving themselves and their own ahead of others, had he slipped from Jewish to Christian ethics? Was Rudolf Kasztner wrong in giving priority to getting his own friends and people in his political camp over other Jews onto his train to freedom? And I looked at R’ Tzevi Hirsch Meisels’s heart-rending words about a father whose son was one of 1,400 children placed on a train for extermination; was he permitted to risk his own life to save his son’s?)Share:ShareShare This entry was posted in Shaarei Yosher. Bookmark the permalink. ← Shaarei Yosher, sec. 3: Self-Interest – part 1 […]

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