My mind is reeling and my heart is aching, not only from the shootings that have just occurred, but the flood of solutions that people are proposing. We are all desperate for solutions. We want to be able to live in this world feeling safe. We want to know that we can go to Walmart and not have to look over our shoulders. We want to be happy, live peacefully and know that we don’t have to live in fear.
The truth, as hard as it is to admit, is twofold and paradoxical: there are no solutions to gun violence and we don’t have to live in fear.
How do we live with this reality? The truth is that our society suffers from much more than gun violence. The American culture has degraded, and is spiritually empty, lacking compassion and respect for all of our citizens. Does anyone know of a society that has recovered from this type of erosion—without a moral compass? The only one that comes to mind is the Jews.
Time and gain, the Jews have fallen into idol worship and moral decadence. The only way they were pulled back to a spiritual existence was through the Prophets and G-d. But we no longer have prophets. And most of the Jews have become secular; many are self-hating and resent the Orthodox. The times do not bode positive outcomes, even for the Jewish community.
The gentile community is also in trouble. Moral bearings are vanishing; laws that respect freedom and the human spirit are disappearing. The rule of law itself is vanishing in a dark cloud of self-indulgence, small-mindedness and materialism. How much darker can the future look?
Rather than giving up hope, I have only one suggestion, and each of you has the power to make it happen. We each have to commit ourselves fully to being our best selves, to being loving, law-abiding and responsible human beings. Not just by going through our lives unconsciously on our ordinary paths: going to work, taking the kids to school, making dinner, and taking care of ourselves. Those are required to live a good life. But doing even more. Taking on our tasks and obligations and relationships with passion and dedication. Getting involved with our communities and neighbors. Looking people in the eye. Paying attention to the needs of others. Staring down fear. Behaving as if our very lives, our families and friends and existence depend on it.
Because they do.
It’s all up to you.