Welcoming Migrants: Inspired by Biblical Wisdom
The conviction of Cédric Herrou, farmer of Breil-sur-Roya, on Tuesday August 8, to four months of suspended prison sentence shocked me. Certainly he contravened the law of the Republic but did not he behave in accordance with ethics? Is this legal decision right? This question led me to look for answers in ancient texts. I give you in these few lines, elements of reflection.
Communitarianism presupposes separate groups living side by side in a given territory. On the other hand, the nation or the national community supposes to live with the other; " with » and not " beside " which is a source of indifference. The Bible, this old book that some have hastened to store in the old granaries of history yet is rich in lessons:
" If your brother is about to fall, if you see his fortune faltering, support him, even if he is a stranger and a newcomer, and live with you. Leviticus 25,35
That the stranger, the one who has just immigrated to your country, long live WITH you! It should be noted that "living" does not mean "surviving", which means offering decent living conditions abroad.
Rashi de Troyes, famous biblical exegete (1040-1105), will define what is meant by foreigners:
The foreign-inhabitant, the guer-toshav"It is someone who has committed himself not to indulge in idolatry; but who consumes nevéloth (Carrion). Here is also the explanation given by the Maharal of Prague following Rashi: "What is the guer-toshav ? It is the one who decided not to worship foreign deities, and to abstain from eating animals killed in a non-ritual manner (Nevélot). "
One can understand that the foreigner, refraining from practicing idolatry, must respect the foundations of this host society which was built in fidelity to the one God and against idolatry. Mutatis mutandis, one could say that it must respect the foundations of the Republic while keeping its customs (the consumption of carrion referring to that of animals not killed ritually).
These foundations are specified in Article 1 of the Constitution:
"France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. It ensures equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion. She respects all beliefs. "
This is how anyone living on the soil of France must be in the Republic and respect its laws.
This is what André Néher tells us about the thought of the Maharal of Prague: "The peacemaking environment in the life of men is not the neutrality of a void that is neither the one nor the other, but the fullness of an alliance encompassing one and the other. other, but the fullness of an alliance embracing one and the other, in respect of one and the other, by the completion of the one-by-the-other. "
The integration of Jews into host nations was very early considered an imperative in biblical texts; We can judge by this inspired recommendation of the Prophet Jeremiah, more than 26 centuries ago, in the place of his co-religionists exiled to Babylon:
" Thus saith Jehovah-Cebaot, God of Israel, to all the exiles that I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses, and dwell in them, and plant gardens, and eat the fruits thereof. Marry women and give birth to sons and daughters; give women to your sons, husbands to your daughters, so that they have children. Multiply there and do not decrease in number. Work finally on the prosperity of the city where I have relegated you and implore God in his favor; for its prosperity is the pledge of your prosperity. (Jeremiah 29,4-7)
Another Biblical prescription, the creation of safe-haven cities, can inspire our attitude towards welcoming refugees:
" You will choose cities suitable to serve as cities of asylum: there will take refuge the murderer, homicide by imprudence. These cities will serve you as an asylum against the avenger of blood, so that the murderer may not die before he has appeared before the assembly to be judged. (Numbers 35, 11-12)
The Oral Torah through the midrash states that the Great Sanhedrin had a duty to ensure that all roads leading to safe cities were easily passable and well signposted.
Modernity of the biblical text as Europe faces a wave of migrants.
This biblical tradition will be taken up by two philosophers: Emmanuel Lévinas and Jacques Derrida. Emmanuel Lévinas on social inequalities writes: « The vengeful or the redeemer of the blood "with the heated heart" does not roam around us, in the form of popular anger, spirit of revolt or even delinquency in our suburbs, results of the social imbalance in which we are installed? "
Jacques Derrida participated in the initiative of the International Parliament of Writers for the creation of safe cities. Affirm the duty of hospitality to welcome dignified foreigners in general, exiles, refugees, deportees, stateless.
Old tradition of hospitality and Biblical hospitality initiated "at the beginning" by the patriarch Abraham. Fundamental ethics of the Torah that makes Jacques Derrida say: " It is the culture itself and it is not an ethics among others. As it touches the ethos, that is to say, at home, at home, instead of the familiar stay as well as the way of being there, the way of relating to oneself and to others, to others, like theirs or foreigners, ethics are hospitality, they are co-extensive throughout the experience of hospitality, in whatever way it is opened or limited. "