Of Love & Justice I Will Sing:
To You, Breath of Life, I’ll Sing Praises
“Praise,” even for love and justice, may seem hard to sing in the wake of yesterday’s murderous attack in Boston. But it is precisely the One Who breathes and interbreathes all life, and makes such violence a wound in every soul and body, that we praise.
Yesterday was not the first time Patriots Day has been defiled. On April 19, 1995, ultra-right-wing terrorists fueled by hatred of the Federal government bombed the Federal office building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.. They chose that day in a perverted “commemoration” of the revolutionary uprising against the British monarchy, celebrated every year in Boston on the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord that began the American Revolution. (More recently, Patriots Day was shifted to the nearest Monday.)
In 1995, there was at first a flurry of fury against what some in the media assumed were “Muslim terrorists.” After the terror attacks of 9/11, which were indeed carried out by murderers who falsely claimed Islam as justification, the US was swept away into a vicious and self-destructive war and the despicable use of torture.
Let us now act instead in the path of Torah: “Justice, justice, shall you pursue.” Why does the Torah say “justice” twice? To teach us: Use just means to pursue just ends. So let us now pursue three goals: true and rigorous justice toward the actual perpetrators; the healing of the wounded; and consolation for the families of those killed.
To draw on the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning: May the One Who makes harmony in the highest, deepest reaches of the universe teach us through That Unity to make harmony within ourselves, loving compassion for each other, and peace for all who dwell upon our planet.
With blessings of both prayer and work for shalom, salaam, paz, peace — Arthur