To the editor:
I would like to make a partial reply to Charles Gruber's answer in Faith Forum on Saturday, July 28, to the question: Should people of faith believe in "just war"?
Mr. Gruber cited examples from four of his faiths, including Judaism, and emphatically answers: no. I can't speak to the other faiths, but I do wish to discuss his position as far as what the Jewish faith states. He bases this on the admonition "Thou shalt not kill." Unfortunately, for Mr. Gruber's otherwise eloquent argument, no such admonition or commandment exists within the Jewish religion.
The sixth commandment (fifth in some Christian traditions) found in the book of Exodus was originally mistranslated as "Thou shalt not kill" in the King James Version. However, the correct translation, agreed to by virtually every biblical and Hebraic scholar is "You shall not commit murder." Moreover, the translation "Thou shalt not kill" makes no sense due to the fact that shortly afterward, in the book of Exodus, is a list of offenses, the punishment for which is death.
The Jewish religion teaches that peace is God's most precious gift. The pursuit of peace is given the highest of priorities but it is not absolute. Unfortunately, there comes a time when one must fight and even kill. Judaism answers the question in the faith forum as yes, there is such a thing as a just war.