By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
I am so conflicted! The situation in Israel conflicts me. The situation in America conflicts me. The situation in life conflicts me. I seem to be in the midst of conflict in most areas of my life. This week, someone who had sought recovery and then sought drugs went to a hotel room and died of a heroin overdose. This was probably not intentional. A sweet, young man who could not accept the love given to him and always wanted more. In Israel, Hamas is unable to accept reality and see Israelis as human beings and, in some cases, the same is true on the Israeli side. Throughout the United States, people are more interested in winning and ideology than in finding ways that help lift each other, and therefore themselves, up! There is nothing but conflicts around me and I am conflicted inside as well.
The situation in Israel causes me great conflict because I don't want to see the death of anyone, because they are being used as pawns and their leaders don't value life, as I do. I am conflicted because I understand the need for protection and the inability to have any meaningful resolution with people who hate you, think you are subhuman, and think you should be penalized for breathing the same air as they do. When people build tunnels to surprise and kill you, what are you supposed to do?
The situation in the United States also causes me great conflict. The people who are claiming to be the voice of our Founding Fathers are speaking the language of King George! They lie to us and others, and then accuse others of being the liar. I went to jail for my lies, deceit and treachery; while they get elected, pass pork-barrel bills and stop the progress of this nation. The "other side" is also lying and treacherous, as evidenced by the pitiful role of the United States as the friend of Israel. In reality, the U.S. has been friendlier to Qatar where the TERRORIST organization Hamas, backed by Iran, is headquartered. So many of our so-called “defenders of the constitution and People of Faith,” care little for the actions of our Founding Fathers and the words and actions of our Ancestors of the Bible. If we are, as some/many lawmakers say, a "Christian Nation"— what would Christ say if he walked in on us today? What would Elijah say? What would God say?
What does all of this have to do with the death of a young man from a Heroin overdose this week? The conflicts that caused his death, the conflicts within this country, and the conflict in Israel all come from the same root: a lack of connection to one's own humanity and the humanity of another/the other.
My deep belief is that Israel, Hamas, and the PLO have to take a deep accounting of themselves prior to any lasting co-existence. Neither side is totally clean in this conflict. There are wrongs on both sides, yet, without acknowledgement of the humanity of the other person, without connection to one's own humanity, it will be impossible to take a true accounting of the soul and do T’Shuvah.
Being a teenager during the sixties, I was so blessed to be part of the Kennedy years and the excitement and hope it brought. I was a part of the generation that was going to improve on our parents’ generation and never again elect a Richard Nixon type person as President and to Congress. We have gone to the dogs with the polarization of our government and in allowing them to polarize us as citizens. We have sunk into a morass of mediocrity, which seems like what happened in Jerusalem prior to the destruction of the Temples (which we commemorate this Monday night and Tuesday). Without seeing the humanity of our enemies as well as our friends, we in this country will never be able to see our strengths and errors in order to repair and enhance our own lives, the lives of others and this great nation.
My young friend who died, he also could not connect to his own humanity and therefore could not truly connect to the humanity of another. He helped people, yet he was not able to do the inside work of staying true to his soul and his humanity long enough to accept and believe the enormous love so many people have/had for him. His parents are bereft, his siblings sad, his friends bewildered, and the world is missing his gift.
Being Addicted to Redemption forces me to touch my humanity and recognize and dignify the humanity of others. Please write to Congress, write to the UN, write to Israel, write to the Arab States in the Middle East, and write to yourself demanding that they/you become Addicted to Redemption and see their humanity and the humanity of others so we can all be less conflicted.