D'vrei Torah by Rabbi Ellie Shemtov
This week's Torah portion, Bechukotai, the last portion in the book of Leviticus, contains what are called the Tochecha, verses of rebuke. These verses, which are chanted quickly and in a low voice, contain some pretty difficult stuff – curses heaped upon the Israelites if they do not follow God's laws. The curses include things like sowing seed to no avail and making the land desolate. While the list goes on and on, today I can't help but notice one particular curse that will befall the Israelites if they fail to follow God's laws.
I will let loose wild beasts against you and they shall bereave you of your children (Lev. 26:22).
What precisely are the sins committed that would bring on this particular curse is difficult to fathom. But today, two days after yet another mass shooting in an elementary school – Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut made the case for the sin of doing nothing when he said to his colleagues:
"Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate – why do you go through all the hassles of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority – if your answer is that, as this slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing?"
Elie Wiesel once wrote, "What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander." Even worse is when those silent bystanders are many of our elected officials, whose job it is to take action. To them I say, "No more silence. End gun violence."
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