judges

Yesterday I posted "Baruch Dayan Emet" in Hebrew in response to the recent killings in Israel. But since then, I haven't known peace in my heart. Because I can hear the thoughts, "Of course she sides with Israel." "They deserve it."


I know what the world thinks of Israel. The view of the government spills over the people, is it does with every nation.


And as a minority myself, I know, I know the meaning of "no justice no peace" as it was the banner I lived under for more years than I have not.


But if Kenosha taught me one thing, it's that there is no amount of blood or fire that makes the pain go away nor does it create justice. And those who encourage, cheer on, and nod to the spilling of blood and the raging fires, the ones with bullhorns, are often lining their pockets with our misery.


I learned this.


Baruch Dayan Emet means "blessed is the True Judge." God.


This phrase, blessing, is said at times of death unexplainable and especially tragic. All death is sad, but Baruch Dayan Emet is most often said when the death is particularly shocking or life shattering.


It acknowledges that we, humans, cannot understand, but there is a Judge, sees all, understands all, is in control, and who will make all things right one day. I


It hands off the right to life and death to God and allows for grieving in the absence of full comprehension.


When someone says a Bnei Brak father pushing his toddler in a stroller as his deserves to be shot because of the sin of their nation, I have to ask them, "Does this type of justice apply to you as well?"


If it wasn't just a Baltimore businesses burned down in 2015 but your home, your father's home, would you accept it as justice for sins of the nation?


If you were shot, your child shot, or your mother shot by someone who looked like me, would you accept it as justice for sins of your nation?


If First Nations and Indigenous people of Canada and the United States decided the only way to avenge the souls of their children was to replace them with the bodies of your children, would you accept it as justice for sins of the nation?


No. We wouldn't. You wouldn't.


We human beings believe we are very good at justice. We believe we know the whole, true story and can do better than our fathers, mothers and governments.


Only, history has proven that we are not good at justice. We get it wrong. We unequally apply our rulings. And there are people and organizations committed to helping us stay tangled in hatred and fear.


There is also very real evil this world that hates the souls of human beings and the Divine breath that sustains us- all of us, without discrimination who every day encourages us to mow each other down in big ways and small.


I believe in people standing up and disrupting everyday life to make their plights known and seen. I even believe in self-defense and defending one's life and the lives of the ones you are responsible for with deadly force when needed.


But shootings in the street? That type of justice, if evenly applied, would leave none of us innocent.


Because none of us are innocent. Chances are you live on land with a bloody history. Chances are you have benefitted from exploitation and violence. If you own something made in a sweatshop in China or are reading this on a smartphone powered by copper mined by a child. Remember when we cared about conflict diamonds? The list is endless.


In the west especially, our lives are subsidized by pain to a degree that if we truly explored justice we would never stop paying.


None of us are innocent.


That is why I say only Baruch Dayan Emet. Blessed is the True Judge.


My prayer today is this.


True Judge, only You know all of the ways I live in the shadow of someone else's pain. Only You know the exact amount of tears and blood of others who have subsidized my life. Only You know how much I owe. It is a price I can never pay. This world has been on the brink for so long but lately it feel as if the seams are splitting with a quickness.


I don't ask for everything to be fixed and for peace in the middle east because I cannot fathom it happening on this side of life. I ask for our hearts not to grow hardened. Help us resist evil; the evil we benefit from packaged in good and convenience, the evil we see in our neighbors, and the evil unknown. Help us resist.


It's so much easier to see it in others than ourselves. Help us to remain soft and human and full of Your love as this world tries to turn us into something else.


We may never know or see the whole truth in this life, but You know.


Please help the most vulnerable among us. The ones suffering and ignored, both overseas and across the street. Help us to help them.


In Yeshua's name I pray,


Amen