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Shared meal spurs an unusual act of compassion

A 27-year-old Israeli abandons his bid for Mt. Everest's peak to rescue a Turkish climber

  • Lisa Hickman
  • International
  • September 27, 2012
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During the Everest climbing season last May, just 1000 feet from the top of the world, 24-year-old Israeli law student Nadav Ben-Yehuda noticed a 64-year-old Turkish man, Aydin Irmak, lying in the snow with no gloves, no oxygen, no shelter as other climbers streamed past him in their quest for the summit.

Climbers know instantly 26,000 feet is the infamous 'death zone' where the lack of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life for any length of time. Exposure in that zone quickly leads to acute mountain sickness, hypothermia and, most often, death.

In the death zone of Everest, there is no time for inaction. In an instant, Nadav relinquished his summit bid and put all efforts into Aydin's rescue. Nine hours later, Nadav arrived at base camp having saved the life of Aydin.

What makes this story remarkable is that Turkey and Israel have long been nations with relations icier than the slopes of Everest. Nadav's act not only saved a life, but also bridged a distance between inimical countries. When asked why he relinquished his dream of conquest and instead stopped to help, Nadav answered, "Because we had shared a meal together."

As the lectionary text (Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22) for this week unfolds, Esther, Haman and King Ahasuerus are sharing a meal together. Within hours of this wine being poured, one of them will be dead and an ethnic group, destined for death, will be spared. While I wish this story ended without a single death, the text challenges us to enter the courts of our own enemies, eat with them and encounter the beginnings of understanding.

Full story: Eating with the enemy: Esther's story

Source: Huffington Post
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