Amid atrocities in the world, can we return God’s love? - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Amid atrocities in the world, can we return God’s love?

September 7th, 2017 development
Amid atrocities in the world, can we return God’s love?


Brother against brother was demonstrated so vividly just 156 years ago. Hundreds of thousands of our countrymen were killed or wounded.  The nation was torn apart and really has never fully recovered.

In a most stirring speech, President Lincoln used some of the immortal words from our Declaration of Independence at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield: “Our fathers brought upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal.”

He reminded us of the words penned by Thomas Jefferson in a stirring, heart-wrenching description of the cost of liberty.

Throughout the ages, our leaders have attempted to bring to our attention the very essence of our existence, emphasizing the evils of slavery, but also including the terrible ordeals of antagonistic vitriol regarding religion and nationality. After all, are we not descendants of immigrants?

Perhaps George Washington said it best in his famous letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, “For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

If history has taught us anything, it is that human beings are capable of unimaginable atrocities. World War ll made it abundantly clear that we seem to have a sordid need for annihilation.

Between World War l and World War ll, over 60 million people perished by the sword. What a tragic reminder of what hate unabated can lead to.

That was then.  What about now? Today we are experiencing a resurgence of past atrocities. The most violent form of destructive bigotry pits neighbor against neighbor.

History is eradicated because it offends and neglects the essence of our origins. Name-calling, shouting down those who disagree with our concepts, maiming or killing individuals because of the color of their skin or the faith they practice has become the norm once more.

The flames of unchallenged hatred prevail in our society as never before or maybe not. If we look back at the growth and development of this magnificent edifice to the ideals established by sweat and sacrifice, we will see its desecration on many occasions.

We may appear to be a little more sophisticated, but hate is hate, no matter when, no matter where.

It appears that this frustration and the explosion of feelings have developed much stronger over the last 10 years. Perhaps some of our expressions are determined by guilt. Perhaps some of our meaning is a result of no middle ground, no room for compromise. Perhaps what we are witnessing is nothing more than the disappointment resulting from one step forward and two steps back.

Perhaps because we are human we cannot seem to reach the path to understanding the values we inherited. Perhaps faith has been dissipated to the point of no return, as our houses of worship remain empty, as do our hearts.

We can utter the words to rally our comrades. We can rely on the Book of Books to remind us of our moral responsibilities.

We can recite verse and chapter of the admonitions for civility and human allegiance. What we do not seem to be able to do is take the words and mold them into character, and in turn to love for one another.

How sad that the few, a minority, have not only become mainstream, but also have been able to bring out the savage beast in us.

How sad that this country founded on the principles laid out for us by the Prophets of old as they too attempted to relate the message given to us by God about equality and brotherly love, seem to have been lost waiting to be found once more.

The Heavens are weeping, waiting for us to realize what we are doing to ourselves without regard for the generations that most assuredly will follow.

I wonder what kind of a world they will find. I pray that God will be part of it. We were created in love and we are loved even now.

Can we return that love?

-Rabbi Irwin Weiner, DD, is spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.