Thursday, June 16, 2016

In Response to Orlando

The pundits will seek answers.
They will ask the politicians, “What can be done?”
And the politicians will offer platitudes and shrug their shoulders and bury their heads in the sand.

They will ask the clergy and people of faith, “Where is God at a time like this?”

At a time like this, God gives a sad shake of the head, as tears well up in God’s eyes, and words catch in God’s throat…
“My children have defeated Me!”[1]

The first time God said it, the words were tinged with bemusement and pride.  Now they sting, and bring only frustration.  We have defeated God by acting callously toward God’s creation.  The blood of our brothers and sisters, of our sons and our daughters, cries out to us from the ground[2], and we stand idly by while our neighbors bleed[3].

When God was ready to make man and woman, we were created in the Divine Image[4].  God wished to entrust humanity with a spark of the Divine Self.  The angels were consulted: where should this Divine Spark be placed?  A suggestion was made: “Let us put it inside each human being.  That is the last place they will look!”[5]

But it seems we have looked…we have found it…and yet we have chosen to wrest it from our midst and cast truth to the ground[6] in favor of the idols of vanity, greed, and violence.

All is foreseen, and yet free will is given.[7]  Let us use our free will to realize the best potential within us.  We are better than this.

Let us not succumb to Islamophobia.
Let us not succumb to xenophobia.
Let us not succumb to homophobia.
Let us not be mired in hatred and mistrust and fear.
Let us embrace one another in love and fellowship.

Let us forget for a moment about Jew, Christian, Muslim, Baha’i; gay, straight, bisexual; male, female, gender nonbinary; white, black, brown; rich, poor; or any of the other labels we use to box ourselves in or to keep others out.

Let us just be.

And in the end,
Let peace win.
Let love win.
Let healing begin.

[1] cf. Talmud, Bava Metzia 59b
[2] Genesis 4:10
[3] Leviticus 19:16
[4] Genesis 1:27
[5] A midrash told by Rabbi Harold Schulweis
[6] cf. Daniel 8:12
[7] Mishnah Avot 3:15