Sunday, August 02, 2009

A light unto the nations?

Murder in the name of a political or ideological cause has always struck me as the worst of all crimes. Yes, I indeed cry for the friends, family and loved ones of those murdered or wounded last night in this horrible shooting last night in Tel Aviv at a center for gay youth. But I cry, too, for all the people Israel and all the citizens of the State of Israel. We have a myth among the Jews. I use the word, myth, here not in its conventional sense (of a story that's not true). I use the word, rather, to refer to a core belief -- a story of faith -- that we tell about ourselves; that we tell to remind ourselves of who we really are: The myth that Jews don't kill Jews. The myth that for all our disputes and grievances with one another, that we settle them (or, more often, just learn to live with them) with words, not guns. NOT GUNS!

I do not know who this person was who, dressed in black and with an automatic rifle, walked into that basement room last night. But the wound left is deep and broad. It is a wound to all that our people have tried to stand for down through the generations -- for a reverence for life, and for shalom.

I still believe in the myth. I still believe we have a gift to give the world, a light to show. . . . But, today, it's harder to believe in it. It's harder to hope.

Oh, Lord, may it be Your will that this horror -- this pain -- will lead us to find a way back to following Your instruction, Your Torah of peace. Please, Lord, let it come now, speedily, in our days.

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