This week’s Torah Portion, Balak, brings a lot of questions regarding human behavior. Balak keeps trying to get Balaam, the Prophet, to go against God’s orders. Many of us keep doing the same thing, some 3000+ years later. We have become like Balak, cursing people rather than finding ways to live together.
A look at the political discourse in our country shows this. Yet, we, the people, are responsible for what is happening. We talk bad about others to make ourselves feel better/superior to others. We go after the dignity of others rather than engage in meaningful dialogue. We need to be right and we need to be right rather than work together to solve problems.
Judaism teaches us to engage in lively and spirited debate to figure out what the next right thing to do is. Judaism calls on us to respect the ideas and dignity of others. We are so wrapped up in our own Ego’s and power trips that we have forgotten to see the Divine in others.
I am calling on all of us to change our ways. We have to say NO to the negativity others are spewing. We have to say NO to the negativity that grows inside of ourselves. We have to be like the Prophets, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says. We have to deliver a painful rebuke to people who are sowing seeds of polemics and hatred. We have to accept the painful rebuke of others when we are doing the same thing. Then we will be living with the unwavering hope God has in us and the same deep love God and others show us! I welcome your comments and your ideas and rebukes to me when I forget this, as I will:) Doing this demonstrates your deep love and unwavering hope for me and the world.