Sunday, October 28, 2018

Vayera, pipe bombs, & a mass murder in a Pittsburgh synagogue--yes, there's a connection

See Parshat Vayera, B'reshit/Genesis, chapter 18, verses 9-15.

When Sarah laughed at the thought of having a baby after menopause, she described Abraham as being old.  Some of our sages/rabbis were impressed that HaShem didn't tell Abraham about the "old"  part--they said that HaShem was trying to spare Abraham's feelings and preserve Shalom Bayit (peace in the home).  Personally, I think the sages missed something major in this interchange--why did HaShem mention this internal conversation of Sarah's to Abraham at all?  Isn't this a classic example of "lashon ha-ra ("evil speech"), a term usually applied to the spreading of information which, while factually accurate, causes damage of one sort or another to its subject"?  How did knowing that his wife was a bit cynical about HaShem's promise not diminish Sarah's reputation in the eyes of her husband?

Now we have political candidates and/or elected or appointed officials committing motzi shem ra--slander (see the link above)--on a regular basis.  Candidates have said that Mexican immigrants are bringing drugs and crime.  Government officials have targeted all Muslims as potential terrorists and/or imposers of Islamic religious law (Sharia).  The news media have been targeted by government officials as "enemies of the people."  Candidates and government officials have encouraged violence against protesters and/or journalists.

Why are we surprised, then, that a reactionary individual targeted some opponents of those in power with pipe bombs?  Why are we surprised, then, that an anti-Semite entered a Pittsburgh synagogue in the middle of Sabbath services and opened fire, killing 11 people just because they were Jews?

Over the course of this past week, I have become increasing upset with the attitude of President Trump.  While he certainly did not order these murderous actions, his adamant refusal to acknowledge that his own words can encourage life-threatening acts strikes me as flagrantly dishonest and shockingly irresponsible.

Never in all of my 69 years have I seen a more powerful demonstration of the fact that, under the right (or wrong) circumstances, what we say--or what we choose not to say--can be quite literally a matter of life or death.

Words matter, Mr. President.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

indeed they do. Such as the Pittsburgh shooter saying he wasn't a Trump supporter because Trump allowed Jews in his campaign.

I get that you're a NY liberal. But the dude in Florida was a crazy. And the one in Pittsburgh was a Nazi who had nothing to do with Trump. But ok, you draw whatever conclusions you want, because facts don't matter to you either. You're very Trumpian in that respect.

Mon Oct 29, 09:46:00 AM 2018  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

The "dude in Florida" may, indeed, be a "crazy," and the killer in Pittsburgh may not have had anything to do with Trump, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't encouraged to commit violence because a political leader encourages violence, at least in his words. "“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, okay. Just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise.”

Mon Oct 29, 10:48:00 AM 2018  

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