Nefesh a`hat mi-bnei adam

Posted on June 11, 2009

I cannot begin to tell you how troubled I am about this most recent ‘hate crime’ – the shooting in the Holocaust museum. Of course, I can’t tell you that it is any worse or better than the others – just more of the same. Walk into a church and murder in cold blood a doctor who performs abortions – and feel justified? An extremist murders two soldiers because his religion justifies this and promises him glory? Now this – a man who has steeped his heart in hate for so long that he has lost contact with reality and thinks his Social Security check is being cut because of his white supremicist rantings and ravings.

It would be bad enough to read about these events if everyone decried and condemned them – but ohhhhh, noooooo! People are actually making comments right and left to vindicate their acts and make them out as martyrs and their victims as criminals who deserved the executions they suffered. Does this not make anyone else want to scream and stand up and say “Stop, stop, stop! “. Don’t come at me with any notions that I am so naive about things such as this – I’ve seen my share of horror, cruelty to people, intolerance and hate before. I’ve seen people who supposedly have everything a person could want try to deny anything to one who has nothing or take away the widow’s mite from the widow – just because they could – just because they were that greedy or so insecure that they felt the need to boost themselves up just that little bit more.

It’s like an addiction for folk like that – the demeaning, denying, the ostrasizing of others. Never let them have a crumb – they might get ‘uppity’ and forget their ‘place’, eh? Yes, I have see all that.

I see in the media they are trying to lob blame upon the new administration for this – and although I don’t agree with this new president, I’m not sure he rightfully deserves all the blame for this. I think we had better look closer to home – at those around us and at ourselves. There is plenty of blame to go around. Everyone is so busy defending their little plot of ground – white, black, red, yellow…….male, female, gay or straight……Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist. etc…..young, old, in-between….ignorant, learned and all those who fall somewhere between the two. Each so convinced that their little ‘sect’ is not only the right, but the righteous one. My goodness – how can ya be so sure? I’m not sure of anything much except that I need to keep learning and trying to understand. I don’t want to defend any tiny little plot of ground – some little prison of phoney righteousness. In fact, I don’t want to be ‘like’ or ‘unlike’ anyone else – I want to be “Me. “

The children of this world are growing up with precious little love – even less unconditional love. Consequently, they look for what they think will make them happy in the all the wrong places – popularity, success, cyberspace. They don’t much have feelings for others – because no one has ever given them enough feelings. You cannot use what you don’t know about. Instead of any type of religious or moral upbrings, the neon God of this generation is the ipod, the blackberry and cyberspace. That’s where they are getting their ‘feelings’ from and its not more than cheap thrills. Not enough are teaching them to love themselves – much less love one another.

They get seduced into hate groups because of the status and affinity it gives them – a sense of family – just what so many are lacking. Once you start to hate like that – you lose all sight of reason. They’re not bothering to check anywhere to see if what they are told is true or not – they accept it. That’s the example that’s been set for them, isn’t it? The one that they see in the forums when people say the abortion doctor deserved to be slaughtered in his church in front of his family because he ‘murdered’ so many souls. No – I don’t believe in wholesale abortion…but I don’t believe in wholesale murder either. Every time there is another religious article here where Catholics are bashed – I cringe. Or when people act as if all Muslims are the spawn of the devil. That’s bull – and people know that – they just won’t have the chutzpah to stand up and buck the popular voices in saying it. Now, a man who has lived and breathed hate for so long that he thinks there were no concentration camps – no holocaust – it was just a myth pushed off on us all by Jews – he walks into the Holocaust Museum in Washington and opens fire. Ironically, it is a Black security guard that is killed. You see – no one is safe from hate. If you see someone attacking a Black person because of their color and say nothing – you are no longer safe. Remember, once before I metioned this – Pastor Martin Neimoller’s poem, “First they came for the Jews “. He wrote it to make the same point to German intellectuals who remained silent as the Nazis visited violence on their victims:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Communist;

Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist;

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist;

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew;

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If anyone tries to make you believe there was no holocaust – in the name of G_d – go to this website:


http://college.usc.edu/vhi/]

This is the website for USC – who is in control of all the recorded footage from the SHOA Project. For those of you who don’t know – this was Steven Spielberg’s project. He recorded the testimony of tens of thousands of persons who were in the camps during the holocaust – of war criminals – of liberating forces – anyone who had knoweldge of or witness to any of the Holocaust. The reason for doing this was not to make people hate those who did this – it was to warn everyone in future generations what led up to the holocaust, how it came about, to enlighten our hearts about prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and not being forgiving. If you can watch even five of those testimonies with a dry eye, my friend – get help – you either are no longer human or you have died.

When I think of the holocaust, I always remember Anne Frank. I think her diary was for many of us – the first we knew of this horrible event. Remeber, that poor little girl, who had to live in hiding – away from the light – in the dark much of the time? Her simple, little girl idealisms…ones that she lived by until she died in the camps. “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! ” Finally, the most moving of all her words . . . “in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. “

If that child could believe in the dignity, the hope of mankind under those conditions – how can we do less? We’ve much more than she ever had a chance for – how can we begrudge others understanding, tolerance, the milk of human kindness? I wonder how many of us would have hid Anne and her family – would we have had the gumption – or would we have felt that it was “just the jews’ problem? “

Would we have had the fortitude, the daring to do what Schindler did – to lie and scrape and lose his fortune to save almost 1200 Schindlerjuden ? Schindler was a man who was not a Jew, but a Catholic. The Talmud says, [b] “Whoever destroys the life of a single human being [nefesh a`hat mi-bnei adam] … it is as if he had destroyed an entire world; and whoever preserves the life of a single human being … it is as if he had preserved an entire world “. [/b]Aren’t we, in a way ‘preserving life’ by being good and kind and understanding and tolerant of one another? Can’t that be the little that we can all do every day of the year to promote peace and light in the world? We’ll never be without wars, I don’t think – but we could live in peace despite them if we only could learn to see what is alike in all of us and appreciate that instead of focusing on what is different and using it as an excuse to hate.

Would any of us live for one day in Krakow wearing the yellow Star of David? Would we be willing for just one day to be Black – or Native American – or Asian or Hispanic? Would we want to live in a world where our only child faced daily condemnation because he was a homosexual? Would we want our daughters treated as less-than? I didn’t think so. Conversely, can we forgive those who have trespassed against us and make them our brothers and sisters??? We still have miles to go before we sleep, my friends.

In memory of the countless people of all races, religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations who have died at the hands of racism, bigotry, hatred and intolerance and who continue to die… We ALL. . need to remember . . and to forgive.

Last edited by katie on June 11, 2009, 10:47 pm


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