It says in this week’s parsha, נקום נקמת בני ישראל – “Take revenge on behalf of the Am Yisroel” (Matos 31:2). Does that mean that Baruch Goldstein did what was right when he killed Arabs in Chevron? (Baruch Goldstein was an American-Israeli Jew living in Kiryat Arba who killed 29 Muslims who were praying in the Me’aras Hamachpeila on Purim morning 1994. He was immediately set upon by survivors of the shooting attack and beaten to death)
The answer is that it was not right. Because he caused a very great trouble for us. Everything has to be done with the kavanah, with an eye to what’s going to be the result. That’s the rule of the Mesillas Yesharim when it comes to chassidus, when it comes to going beyond the line of duty. Chassidus has to lead to good results. If what he did results in justifying the Arabs in doing similar things against us, chalilah, then it wasn’t correct. And even that he should lose his life is a terrible loss. He was an Orthodox doctor; he was doing good things for frum Jews. We want him alive! He should be alive now – he shouldn’t have sacrificed his life. Whatever his intention was, it doesn’t justify him losing his life. We needed him.
But besides that, it wasn’t right because he caused a great deal of trouble for us. Now, the Arabs will say, “We’re doing the same thing that he did to us,” and therefore what he did was unjustified. Any chassidus, any frum action, has to be measured by what’s going to be the result. If the results are not desirable then it’s not chassidus. It’s a mistake.
TAPE # E-123 (September 1997)