Chag Sameach and all that good stuff. It’s important I share this.
During Shavuot and Pride in 2016, there was a mass shooting in Orlando at Pulse Nightclub. The people who were killed that night must never be forgotten. Since then, things have mainly gotten bleaker.
We are in crisis. Racism, antisemitism, misogyny, Anti-LGBT Bias. All of these and more forms of violence have taken so many lives here in the US. Often, not always, because of guns. Deliberately not caring about disabled people in a pandemic is another ongoing form of violence. Continuing to displace and mistreat the people indigenous to this continent and killing internationally- also ongoing violence.
And within communities, there is fearmongering causing neighbors, friends, and family to act violently. Sometimes in words, sometimes in deeds. Sometimes targeting the voiceless because they can.
To take it one step further, there is externalized violence and internalized violence. I have lost people to both.
Wrong season, I know, but when we have to do teshuva, there is the repair that must go on between people, repair towards G-d, and inner work.
Taking on the Torah year after year makes me think of seeking to end all cycles of violence, inside and out. Because violence brings suffering, and most halacha is pretty clear on suffering not being cool.
I pray for the cycles to be broken for all, and I’m grateful to get to learn Torah by living and also by studying.