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Be Sensitive

Thursday, 1 November, 2018 - 10:22 pm

Jon Kean’s “After Auschwitz” left me speechless.  Watching it at The Ellen Theater on Wednesday and listening to the life stories of six amazing women, their pain and joy, anguish and contentment, hopes and sorrows, my innards were gut-wrenched. I couldn’t, and still can’t, stop thinking of my Zayde Shimon and all the questions I should’ve asked him to shed light on his after-holocaust experience. What broke me was what happened to these women when they finally went home after the war and how their childhood dwellings were now occupied by their Polish neighbors who refused to give it back and how that shattered their morale. When we lose our care for our neighbors, our very own “buddies”; that’s the decay of a society.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeira, we read about the evil people of Sodom. They were guilty of many sins from sexual immorality to unjust courts, but what really did them in was their failure to be kind. Hospitality was against the law. Kindness among locals was prohibited. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless; all verboten. Stealing from the rich was permitted and robbing a passerby encouraged. Even as Abraham does his very best to advocate to G-d on behalf of the Sodom populace and it’s four suburbs of Amora, Adma, Tzvoyim and Tzoar, he fails, as he simply couldn’t justify their redemption to The Creator. Lot, Abraham’s nephew and a few family members made it out in recognition of their innate kindness, but as-a-whole a society such as Sodom would inevitably self-destruct.

Chavie and I try to instill in our children the importance of respect, no matter who and no matter when. When Shoshana and I were doing homework over Facetime this week, we delved into this idea as well while talking about King Solomon and his son Rechavam overburdening the populace in Israel and the subsequent loss of politeness. When we become out of touch, when we self-inflict with numbness by choice, we hurt neighbors, acquaintances and eventually those we love most. Whether it’s Sodom 1846 BC or Poland in 1945 CE, we must never follow suit. We must be like the Abraham’s or Sugihara’s of the world; be kind, sensitive and respectful.

“Everyone does it” is not an excuse; we can do better!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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