“There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of leaders,” Adolf Eichmann wrote on May 29, 1962. The Nazi war criminal was spectacularly captured in Argentina by Israeli Shin Bet and Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel in 1960. Now, he wrote to president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi two days before he was to be executed, begging for a pardon. If he was a “mere instrument,” then he was one directly responsible for killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Jews as a Lt. Col. in the German SS. He was sentenced to be hung, despite his letter beseeching the president for mercy. The Israeli president only wrote a brief note in the margin of Eichmann’s plea, from 1 Samuel 15:3: “But Samuel said, ‘As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women.” When Eichmann and his Nazis were in power, he was untouchable. Back then he boasted that he would “leap laughing to the grave” because he had killed so many “lesser” people. But we all lose power some day. We all have to stand before our judge. Let us be thankful that our judge is merciful; that he offers the pardon to all who sincerely repent and bears no grudge. Let’s not wait until we’re caught running from God. Turn yourself in and turn yourself around.

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