Archive of: July, 2021
We are the People of the Book. We are a nation of storytellers. We know the power of words to construct and illuminate, even as God used words to create light from darkness. We write midrashim about the stories we inherit, turning the words over and over to find new meaning. We read in the Torah about using words to bless and to curse. Do we still believe in blessings and curses? I remember as a child learning a rhyme in the playground: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I didn’t understand at that time, how much pain and lasting damage could be done by words. Anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs, racist taunts and verbal sexual harassment, internet trolling and fake news are curses of the modern age. At the same time, words give us the power to teach and share, to connect us to our origins and with our tribe, to heal division and give comfort. If we cannot communicate, if we do not have a voice, if we cannot share our words, then we are powerless.
How often do we look around us and see inequity and injustice? Sadly, it is not hard to find examples. In the news just recently we’ve seen sexual harassment in parliament, the difficulty for rural Australians to access adequate healthcare, and ongoing discrimination against people of colour, and people with disabilities. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.