As I think about the bomb threats of the other day, I feel that our freedom has been “invaded’ yet again. Not only is it an abhorrent display of intolerance, but of a warped and deep hatred that has manifested itself in this evil act.
For sure, we are all aware of the deep division and “extremism” that has come to our country, and we can’t help but reflect upon what were seemingly quieter and perhaps more civil political times.
So what can I bring to this bomb episode that is “Jewish?” Let me try in a paragraph or two. As I think about the current “spirit” of our society, I am reminded of the old Jewish idea known as Sinat Chinam. Hard as it is to translate, it reflects spirit of intolerance and close-mindedness that too often results in evil acts. It is a spirit of ruthlessness that comes to permeate a society.
Yes, we all have differences of opinion when it comes to an array of political and societal matters. And we can disagree on highly charged issues. But there is a way to disagree without resorting to such atrocious and cowardly acts.
This episode is the hallmark of someone who seeks to bring fear and upheaval to our society. And while I trust that the perpetrator will be caught, the matter goes way beyond one or a number of individuals who may be responsible. It’s the result of vile rhetoric that arouses the worst in some. It’s about a spirit of harsh intolerance and accusation that starts at the top and influences too many to the degree to which we lose our civility.
As this episode evidences the worst of our society, may we unify as a nation and overcome a spirit that brings division and now terror to so many.
Rabbi David Greenberg