By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Tonight and tomorrow mark the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the nightmare of Nazi hatred and destruction of everything Jewish. I just wonder what we have learned from this.
I believe that we haven't learned enough from this terrible night. We still have senseless hatred from people who believe they have the only right way of being. There is an article in the New York Times about a school district that is being sued in New York State over anti-Jewish slurs, Swastikas, Heil Hitler salutes, etc. I am not taking any side in the lawsuit; I am just dismayed that 75 years after Kristallnacht there is still such hatred in the hearts of schoolchildren and their parents! When will it stop?
My wife, Harriet Rossetto, read me a quote from a man in North Carolina from the New York Magazine, defending their new voting laws. He accused Black people of being lazy, etc.—the usual racial rhetoric. When will this hatred stop?
We often see blaming our problems on illegal immigrants as a solution. These "illegals" are the cause of our poor economy, crime, etc. This prejudice is mainly focused on the Hispanic community. When will it stop?
We have the rhetoric of hatred towards political opponents. We have people who still claim our President is a Muslim, not a citizen, etc. When will our Political Climate stop spewing hatred?
Within our own Tradition, Judaism, one sect has hatred for another. Some Jews have hatred and spread evil speech about other faiths and other peoples. When will it stop?
I am NOT comparing any of the above examples to the horrors that happened 75 years ago. I am looking at, what I believe the root cause of Kristallnacht. Senseless Hatred, needing a bad guy to make yourself look good, blaming and shaming of others so you don't have to be responsible for your own life!
These causes are only cured when we, each one of us, sees the stranger within us. Only when we can recognize a piece of ourselves in another, can we stop Sinat Hinam, senseless hatred. Only when we are willing to welcome the stranger in ourselves and not hate the stranger in our midst can we stop Senseless Hatred. Only when we are engaged in seeing the Divinity in ourselves and in another person, can we affect and make change happen. Only when we are willing to be Addicted to Redemption can we stop Senseless Hatred and ensure that there will NEVER BE ANOTHER KRISTALLNACHT!
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