Sunday, January 9, 2011

A tragedy in Tuscon

Let me begin by saying that I have taken a break from blogging over the last week. We went away to visit family. But now I have returned and will resume the fusion613 blog.

My sense is that the crimes committed against the congresswoman and her staff that included the other victims will lead us into important contemplation and introspection over the next few weeks.  We are all shocked, horrified and bewildered by the young man who is suspected of committing these unspeakable actions.
We will be reading many news reports. All kinds of information will be flowing out of media sources. Commentators will latch onto these issues and analyze them from the political, moral, and even the theological level. No doubt we will all have to make up our minds in the time to come concerning the significance of these crimes. Right now we pray for the recovery of the wounded. We mourn for those who died.
I will leave you with a question. I listened to the CNN interview with a Stephen Farely who is the elected official that replaced Congresswoman Gifford in the Arizona State House. He wanted to reassure the public and Americans in general that the actions of this young man in Tucson did not reflect the character of the people of Arizona. He said, “this is not who we are.”
I appreciate his passion to defend his state. But I must think about his statement. We should think about what this man said. “This is not who we are!” Really? I am not saying yes this who we have become or no, America is not about this kind of person. It is an important question. Do not dismiss this question so fast. It deserves our consideration.
I will return to this question. Please God, may it be your will to bring a complete healing to the wounded and provide them strength on their recovery. Bestow upon them and their families the faith they need to get through these days.
Dear God, let it be that in this moment you will instill courage to the families who must now bury their loved ones.  May all their loved ones join together to support the grieving families and day by day stand by their side in this hour of darkness. Show your light of compassion and love upon all who are in need of your presence. Amen



Rabbi Arthur Segal said...

Shalom Chaver Shel Li R'Brad:

The Arizona shooting and the loss of Debbie Friedman, Z'L, left me in a spirtual tizzy this weekend. Thank you for returning my call. And a loud AMEN to your healing beracoth!

One one hand we have a woman, not ordained, but intoxicated with the Ruach Kodesh, who used her voice, her tongue, to help so many recapture their Judaism.

I knew Debbie and never did I hear an unkind word leave her mouth. She used her words as honey, and I am purposely punning on the similarity between the Ivrit words for 'word' and for 'bumble bee.'

Juxtiposed, we have the death of a Judge, and wounded bystanders, during an assassination attempt, on the life of a congresswoman, a Jewess, and a member of a Temple, who's rabbi is in the Jewish Renewal branch.

And her attempted assassin got his marching orders from the right wing media, the so-called news entertainment tv channels, who convinced him that Rep. Giffords was, in Talmudic terms, a rodef, a stalker out to harm the USA. He was being taught to 'take back our country' and tried to do so with bullets.

This was the same hate speach a rabbi used to convince a Jewish assassin to murder PM Rabin of Israel.

In this case words were used as bees' stingers.

It is not an exageration when our sages teach that the evil tongue, lashon ha ra, actually kills three: the subject, the listener and the speaker.

You and the Torah speak of Pharaoh last Shabbat and this Shabbat. Pharaoh (pei-reish-ayin-hei) permutes to spell the neck (Hebrew, ha oref, hei-ayin-reish-pei). This is used for the "back of the neck. "

Evil can never face holiness directly, holiness is a great light. This blinds evil. This is the mystical meaning of our sages' statement that the wicked do not greet the Shechina, (Sota 42a) for they cannot face Her directly. Rather, they are attached to Her from the back, facing the Shechina's back, and this is how they live, detached from God, in a hell of their own making.

Shalom uvracha,
Rabbi Arthur Segal

williambilek said...

If you will not say it, I will, Rabbi.

Yes, this is what Americans have become: intolerant; unaccepting of other viewpoints; insulting; debasing. A new series of chest thumping for "Vidui ashamnu".

It has become the norm to avoid any respectful, intelligent exchange of opinions. "It is obvious that we will never agree" is the excuse to turn on one's heel and walk away. "If you invite 'so and so' politician (with whom I disagree vehemently politically) I will not come, or I will leave the room." How far a step is it from ,"I disagree with you, so I will insult you, or avoid you;" to "I disagree with you, so I will shoot you."?

Such behaviour is not the trademark of one side or another; one political viewpoint or another; one religion or nationality, or race, or another. It is the fact of America, today. And we ignore our personal failings, in word and deed, at our great peril.

Rabbi Brad L. Bloom said...

Hi Bill
Thanks for your comment. you have a good point. Maybe these events in Tucson will push us back to civil dialogue. Please God gives us the strength to engage each other in a civil way.
we have a long way to go, but, you and I will be on that road.