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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, March 08, 2004

Random Rants

I had a lot of things that came up that made me think this weekend - I don't think they are all going to tie to together, but I might get lucky. Parshas Zachor was read this Shabbos. I have a very hard time with the idea that this piece of the Torah, which commands the Jews to wipe out another nation, is one of the few pieces of Torah each year that everyone absolutely must hear. As many times as other nations have tried to wipe out the Jews, as much as we are supposed to love peace, and see every person as a creation of Hashem; I have trouble with the fact that the Jews are commanded to bloody their hands and kill someone else. I know that we are not commanded to wipe out just anyone, that Amalek set a precedent for trying to combat us, but I still don't understand why that particular parsha is a must-hear for everyone. I have been thinking a lot lately about the fact that, throughout history, so many Jews have been lost. During the exodus from Egypt, only one-fifth of the Jews actually left. During the Spanish Inquisition, tons of Jews converted. Many, many Jews today are intermarrying and their children will no longer either be Jewish or know that they are Jewish. Many of my family members fall into this category. I don't understand, if the Jews are Hashem's chosen people, how He can allow so many of His children to just fall away. I asked this question at the Purim seudah, and I was told that Hashem is like a father, He has to let His children make their own decisions and find out for themself about the correct path. But how far should a father go to this end? To the point where He loses His children completely? Being from Alabama, people often ask me about the racist attitudes that they perceive as being rampant in the South. When I tell them about the fact that I actually worked for three years in an office whose mission was to combat racism, sexism, Anti-Semitism and bring people of all backgrounds together, they often are surprised and I feel like they feel like I had an unusual experience for the South. So why is it that the people who I know who are from New York, New Jersey and places distinctly North of the Mason-Dixon line are the one's who I hear spouting some of the worst racial comments I have ever heard in my entire life? If the North is so enlightened, and racism is not a problem up here, then why is it acceptable to call black people "monkeys" and use the "N" word in the historical derogatory fashion in which it should be completely wiped out? (I just want to say that I WISH I was making this up.) Why are people surprised when I don't find their comments funny, or acceptable, at all? Never in my life have I heard the garbage I hear coming from people who are supposedly so sophisticated. It really embarrasses me. I have another topic in mind, but I am going to leave it for another day, because I think I can tie up the above points by saying simply that I think that we should respect and treat every human with the respect that we would ourselves want to be treated.

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