I write these words days before you are reading them. If only what I say here became irrelevant by that time.
In recent days we have learned of the 2767 young Nigerian girls who have been kidnapped, and it appears that they will be sold as slaves or “sex objects.” And as good people consider how to find and rescue the girls, we know that they are being hidden in a dangerous, threatening forest where even soldiers fear to enter.
In but a few days, we have all become familiar with a violent and perverted fundamentalist Islamic organization known as Boko Haram, and its psychopathic leader named Abu Shekau. And if the story about the young girls were not painful enough, we learned that the Boko Haram terrorists recently entered a village and brutally hacked to death some three-hundred people.
No, none of us can change this situation. None of us can go into that forest and save those innocent young girls. But at the very least we have to talk about it, because not to talk about this would be to turn our backs to cruelty. It would be to violate one of the core commandments of the Torah: “You shall not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds.” And we have to talk about such atrocities, lest we become numb to human cruelty and lose the best of our humanity.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those terrified girls and their families. We cannot give up our hopes that we will yet see a more humane time for our world.
Rabbi David Greenberg