Basic Training, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1996
Basic Training, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1996Click to Enlarge
These men and women are cadets in the U.S. Air Force. Every day, they get up at the crack of dawn and go through the challenges and rigors of basic training. But these cadets are also Jews. So once a week, on Friday night, they get together for a couple of hours at the synagogue on their base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for services, a piece of cake, and a much-needed break from their training. If you look behind them, you can see the Ten Commandments on the synagogue wall. The left-hand column begins with the sixth commandment: “Lo tirtzach” (Thou shall not murder).
דִּינָא דְּמַלְכוּתָא דִּינָא.
The law of the land is the law.
– Babylonian Talmud, Nedarim 28a
לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל דַּם רֵעֶךָ.
Do not stand idly by the blood of you neighbor.
– Leviticus (Vayikra) 19:16
כִּי תָצוּר אֶל עִיר יָמִים רַבִּים לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ לְתָפְשָׂהּ, לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ לִנְדֹּחַ עָלָיו גַּרְזֶן–כִּי מִמֶּנּוּ תֹאכֵל’, וְאֹתוֹ לֹא תִכְרֹת: כִּי הָאָדָם עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה, לָבֹא מִפָּנֶיךָ בַּמָּצוֹר.
When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down.
Are trees of the field human to withdraw before you into the besieged city?
– Deuteronomy (Devarim) 20:19