The newest “hot” video game for young American men is “Battlefield 4” by EA games. The action packed commercials depict the player being able to drive tanks, kill insurgents, and be an all-around tough guy with an assault rifle. The tag line of the commercial promises that the player will experience “the glorious chaos of all-out war”.
In the Torah portion Vayishlach, which we will read in a week, the patriarch Jacob prepares to confront his brother Esau. He prepares for battle, but also sends gifts and hopes to make peace. The Sages teach us that we learn from this that while it is a appropriate to prepare for war, one always seeks peace. In addition, they teach that Jacob was just as afraid of having to kill, as he was of being killed. There is no joy in killing one’s enemy.
Over a decade of continuous war, largely out of sight and mind, and fought by only 1 percent of our population, has desensitized us to the fact that war is a horror that should be avoided at all costs. We have become, sadly and pitifully, a society that glories in war and exults in our ability to deal death quickly and efficiently, to far off people in far off lands. To the makers of Battlefield 4-there is no glory in all-out war-there is only chaos, death, and hell.