Hear Our Voice

The Congregation Shma Koleinu Blog.

It’s time to read the Torah again

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The haters are right. Those whom they despise will overcome.  And someday, the ones despised will live in the homes of those who hated them.  

History is on the side of those whose religion, skin color, nationality, ethnic background, etc. have “caused” majorities throughout the world to blame them for every ill life has to offer.  

And if you don’t believe this is true, it’s time to read the Torah again.  The stories of the Israelites, from slavery to redemption, and then once again through a myriad of degradations, alienations, conscriptions, executions and all other “shuns” one can imagine, fill the parchment of Exodus through Deuteronomy as the sina qua non of the results of the poison hearts of human beings.  From Pharaoh to Amalek to Korach to Balak, the analogs of the Israelites are about nothing if they are not in equal parts a forewarning for what comes when entire societies are hell bent on alienating the other.  Of course, there are plenty of examples of despots and despotic regimes that have “gotten away with it,” but in the end, they have never won the love and affection of their people, they have never “proven” that they were just in their cause.  That their “success” isn’t ever ultimately worth much of anything at all, as long as it comes from breaking the will of their chosen “bogie men.”  

Now, more than ever we Jews and all people, must remember the messages of our Prophets: To live a life of meaning requires as much sacrifice and self-effacement as it requires the pursuit of excellence and assertion.  If you look at a person different than you and presume of them a lower level of intelligence, empathy, compassion, dignity or station in life, its time to read the Torah again.  For the story of Exodus matters only when we presume it to be true for the story of all “others” for all time.


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