This Monday marks Memorial Day in the U.S. A day to honor those that were lost while serving in the United States Armed Forces, those that sacrificed themselves in order to protect the freedom and liberty of their fellow patriots.
In Bava Kamma 60:A the Talmud discusses why the Israelites were commanded to stay in their homes during the plague of the firstborn in Egypt. Why should they remain indoors if the plague was decreed specifically for the Egyptians?
Rav Yosef (and later the Meiri as shown below) argues that “the destroyer does not distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, as it is stated in the verse: “And will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked” (Ezekiel 21:8), where mention of the righteous precedes the wicked.”
War is often a tragedy and those willing to put themselves in harm’s way in an attempt to preserve the values that they believe in could certainly be called the “righteous” and their losses were not for nothing. May their memories be a blessing for all of us.