Nelly Shulman

Compassion of the wicked

In this week’s Torah portion, Emor, we read about the prohibition of killing an animal with its offspring, “However, no animal from the herd or the flock shall be slaughtered on the same day with its young.” (Leviticus, 22:28).

Rabbeinu Bachya, in his commentary on this line, quotes the verse from Proverbs. “the righteous man knows the soul (needs) of his beast, but the compassion of the wicked is cruelty.” (Proverbs 12:10). Understanding that humans are different, God does not assume that we all are universally compassionate.

The possible cruelty that a person can demonstrate via the mistreatment of animals is therefore strictly controlled by the relevant laws, not allowing people even a possibility of further descent into the wickedness.

The current war of Russia against Ukraine is a devastating example of how cruel the wicked can be. The parents are killed together with their children, and the level of inhumanity escalates further and further. The continuation of this war is a clear danger for all the world. It must be stopped as soon as possible.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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