It is, of course, old news now that Osama bin Laden was killed. After seeing the rumors fly around on Facebook statuses (stati?), I confirmed the news on Cnn.com.
My initial response was to be relieved that he will no longer be able to do evil, but to not be overly public about my feelings. Our enemies were, after all, dancing in the street after 9/11. Why should I engage in the same behavior?
I’ve noticed a range of online reactions from “Woohoo!” to “I will not celebrate the death of any human.” I’ve seen quotes from Proverbs to support both opinions (11:10 “When the wicked perish, there is joyful song;” 24:17–18 “When your enemy falls, do not rejoice, and when he stumbles, let your heart not exult, lest the L‑rd see and be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him.”)
So what’s the “right” attitude? Since there are clearly different opinions about this, I went to the Orthoweb to see what some of my favorite Torah sites said. This response from Chabad resonated the most strongly with me.
Its take-home point was that while it’s crucial to acknowledge that there is evil in the world, and to rejoice when that evil is removed, it is also crucial to acknowledge that all humans were created by G-d (even the ones who chose to do massive amounts of evil). Essentially, we should both rejoice and mourn. Rejoice for the cessation of evil, but mourn for the loss of a creation of our Creator.
What do you think? How do you feel?