Jewish Journal


April 19, 2013

The Insecurity of Freedom



By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

What a week! I woke up to hear about the shoot out with the two suspects in the tragedy of the Boston Marathon. I am struck again by the insecurity of freedom that all of us face, yet most of us don't think about. "In a free society, some are guilty and all are responsible," says Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. These words are ringing in my ears as I read the news updates. The pundits and commentators will be, if they are not already, laying the blame for this tragedy on Government Officials, the President, etc. and the truth is we can't protect ourselves from anyone who wants to cause terror. How many of us are unwilling to accept this truth?

I say this because in order to enjoy freedom, we have to acknowledge that there are people who will take advantage of kindness and use these vulnerabilities against others. The same people who defeated the Gun Bill this week in Congress will use this tragedy as a reason to have more guns, they don't want their freedoms taken away from them, just take freedoms away from "the others!”

What is the answer? I don't know for sure. I know that living in a free society means I have to be more responsible for my actions and the actions of others. I have to keep taking stock of myself each day in my prayers and heal the wounds that I feel and others inflict on me. I have to repair damage I do to others. I have to honor the Tzelem, the God Image, the dignity each of us is born with. I have to help others do the same.

My job, your job, our job is to honor our own Infinite Worth and the Infinite Worth of others. We have to hold ourselves and others responsible to treat ourselves and others with dignity and respect.

We celebrated Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball this week. We are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising today. We honor the people who helped and the Doctors and Nurses who saved and aided the people hurt at the Boston Marathon Bombing. We honor the victims of 9/11, we honor the soldiers who have died throughout our history to make freedom ring. It is our turn and our responsibility to redeem ourselves and others to search for a way of living that makes freedom available to all and as safe as possible to all.

Rabbi Heschel was right in his quote and in the title of one of his books The Insecurity of Freedom. We are all responsible. Responsible to hold the guilty accountable. Responsible to see our own part in creating inequality, hatred, prejudice and in pointing our fingers at others and not looking at our own actions. Responsible to "build a more perfect union…of the people, by the people and for the people"

This is the work, we are the people, LET'S DO THIS TOGETHER!

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