I want to speak about remorse and the absence of remorse, and about going beyond revenge. I’ll focus on a single incident in which an activist friend of mine, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, was very nearly killed by a young settler with a knife, and what happened after the settler was brought to trial. Arik asked the court not to send the boy to jail. An unexpected theory of forgiveness in the absence of remorse comes to light when we think through this story.
David Shulman is Professor Emeritus of Indology and Comparative Religious Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His many publications on Tamil and Sanskrit literature and mythology include The Wisdom of Poets: Studies in Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit (2001); Spring, Heat, Rains: A South Indian Diary (2008); More Than Real. A History of the Imagination in South India (2012); Tamil: A Biography (2016) and Freedom and Despair: Notes from the South Hebron Hills (2018); as co-author and co-editor: Self and Self-Transformation in the History of Religions (2002); Siva in the Forest of Pines: An Essay on Sorcery and Self-Knowledge (2004); God on the Hill. Telugu Songs by Annamayya (2005) and The Demon’s Daughter: A Love Story from South India (2006). Shulman is also a long-time dedicated peace activist, and has published two book-length accounts, entitled Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine (2007), and Freedom and Despair: Notes from the South Hebron Hills (2018) of his years working, and often clashing, with police and settlers, to deliver food and medical supplies to Palestinian villages.