09 April 2012

Parable of the Good Palestinian

On one occasion when Jesus and his crew and their groupies were hanging around outside the synagogue after Shabbat service, an expert in Halakha (Torah and Talmud combined) asked him, “Rabbi, what do I have to do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Halakha?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

The expert answered, “‘Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“That’s it,” Jesus replied. “Do that and you will live.”

Then the expert asked Jesus, “But who is my neighbor?”

Jesus told him a story: “A kibbutznik on leave from the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) was driving down from West Jerusalem to Jericho on his way to see the historic site at Petra in Jordan and got carjacked on Highway 1 by some really bad guys. They stripped him, beat him, and drove away in his car, leaving him half dead on the side of the road.

“A wealthy Ashkenazi Cohan from the Labour Party happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, stepped on the gas pedal a little harder, afraid that he too might be robbed.  Then an upper-middle class Sephardi Levite from the Likud Party slowed as he drove by, and when saw him, sped up and passed right by him, not wanting to get involved. 

“But a Palestinian from the National Initiative driving west home to Ramallah from a meeting with the Jewish Voice for Peace stopped, gave the man first aid, and took him to the nearest emergency room, waiting there as the man was treated.  The next day he drove the man to a hotel and sat with him that night.  In the morning, he gave $200 to the manager, saying, ‘Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The Halakha expert replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

“Well said.”  Jesus told him.  “Go out and do the same.”

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