While preparing this week’s Torah portion that has to do with the birth of Esau and Jacob, I cannot get out of my mind the devastating event that occurred at the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. Our hearts go out to them.
The same jealousy and hatred that has existed since the time of Cain and Abel, and Esau and Jacob, still pervades the soul of humankind. Enmity against another continues to fuel the lust to destroy the lives of others out of jealousy and self-righteous hatred of others. People, in the name hatred, still convince themselves of the justification of taking a human life.
A Message For The World
As I write this message to you today with a heavy heart, I want to take this opportunity to reach out to as many people as possible and beg you, especially those of you who have been victims of hatred and jealousy themselves, to understand that if someone hates or dislikes you, move on! We cannot change our enemies. We can only change ourselves and the response within our own hearts and minds. To do that requires, no, demands the purging within our own souls any desire for revenge, or hatred or feelings of injustice.
Yes, and to forgive our enemies. It’s not that we agree with their actions, but we agree with love, not hate.
When Cain killed Abel, or when Esau wanted to kill Jacob, they didn’t feel they were doing it for the wrong reason, they thought they were doing it for the right reason.
Unfortunately, most acts of crime happen because they feel it’s for a right and just reason. That’s why they don’t stop. As difficult a task as it is, the only way out of the hellish cycle of hatred for no true reason, is to break the cycle within.
We Are All Responsible
We have to stop the inclination to justify reasons to be jealous, or to hate each other and activate within us a higher vision of possibility, seeing the good in one another. At the least, restrict the inclination to fuel our own tendency toward bitterness that is too commonly the response to tragedy. To the degree that we are unable, on a consciousness level, we all remain responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh. Until we can relinquish our own hatred within, we remain plagued by the experience of hatred around us.
May this message underscore the urgency for our own personal transformation toward forgiveness, love and compassion for everyone. The people of Pittsburgh are uniting in response to hatred with compassion for their neighbor, there is no better message to the world to help us heal.