Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Silver lining?

Amidst all the horror of yesterday's violence, it appears that a Professor and Holocaust victim who was shot and killed saved countless numbers of students' lives. Ironically this occurred on Holocaust Remembrance Day! Perhaps only those that have seen such inhuman carnage can truly appreciate the value and dignity of human life. It is a glorious thing when we can use and transfigure tragedies and sufferings that occur in our lives in order to carry out God's will, just as this martyr did. May he eternally rest in peace.

One of my favorite sayings from the Jewish Talmud, which is a commentary on Jewish law by various Rabbis, states, "Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)." Also, the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, which is Hebrew for "Repairing the World," in which we, as God's children, try to create a world like the one that existed before The Fall, in which there is no war, violence, poverty or death. Isaiah spoke of this City of Shalom in 2:2-4, in which, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." My favorite quote from the Scriptures comes from Psalm 139: "For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb...I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth." This teaches the importance of each individual life.

Just a week ago we celebrated how our Lord assumed human form, coming to the Earth on a rescue mission, and dying on a cross as a criminal would, so that each of us could individually commune with God, and die no more. It is these moments that we cry out to God, and they make us even more anxious for the day when He will come again. Until then, let us not only pray for peace and love, but embody them.


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