How Many Is Too Many?

Matthew Gindin
2 min readNov 12, 2023

A poem

“Far too many Palestinians have been killed in this war, says US top diplomat. “

So said the news the other day.

“Far too many.”

“Have been killed.”

Less would have been ok, I gather.

What number went too far, I wonder?

Where did it cross the line?

Was it the little girl discharged from the dysfunctional hospital, her body covered by burn wounds, who later died from infection, dehydration, and malnutrition?

Was it then a line was crossed?

Or maybe not.

Maybe that one was ok.

Was it the young sleep deprived doctor who dreamed of publishing a book of poetry in his spare time? The one who died when a bomb exploded and the roof fell on him, and he suffocated beneath the rubble, crushed to death?

That one, maybe, was was one too far.

But maybe not? Maybe that one too was acceptable?

Which one of the 5,000 children they killed became too many? Was 3,500 ok but not 4,000?

Would 1500 children have been acceptable?

When does the soul die I wonder?

When does God leave the building?

When one accepts the murder of 100 children? 50? 10?

I mean, for the sake of a nation, of course. For the sake of history, identity, property, land, religion, weighty matters.

Surely for anything less the murder of even one child would be unacceptable.

Don’t you think so?