The magazine was dated Fall 1997, full of inspirational,
informational and enjoyable articles for the Jewish woman. After recently finding it in a closet, I
reread it this Shabbat, figuring that most of the presentations would still
have value. I found a lesson I did not suspect.
Tucked amid the pages was an article describing how
emergency rooms in Israel reflect the year’s passage, for example an increase
in falls when folks wear (sometimes ill fitting) costumes for Purim (the Feast
of Esther). The author’s name stopped me
In 1997, Dr. David Applebaum was a prominent emergency room
doctor, known for combining medical skills with initiative and compassion. He
was a husband and a father of six, an American born and educated physician
living in Israel, making him an apt choice for writing an article in English aimed
at an American/Anglo audience.
The first time I read the article, in 1997, I knew those
facts. Reading it in 2013, I knew much more. I knew that six years later, for
the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United
States, he flew to New York. There he gave a presentation about emergency
medicine in an age of terrorism, offering encouragement, support and
life-saving information to doctors in the country of his birth. I also knew that within hours of his return
to Israel, he took his 20-year-old daughter, Naava, out to a Jerusalem café so
that they could spend some quiet father/daughter time together on the night
before her wedding. I knew that both she and her father were killed that night,
when a Islamic suicide bomber chose the café where they sat as the venue for
Like every single person reading this Musing, I have friends
and relatives who are suffering from cancer, heart disease and other maladies. Probably
like most people reading this Musing, I sometimes ask God why He sends these
illnesses. This article reminded me that those questions are misplaced.
In the beginning of Genesis, when Cain kills his brother
Abel, the Hebrew reads, “The bloods of your brother are calling to me from the
ground.” Ancient Jewish wisdom asks why the plural for ‘blood’ appears,
sounding no more natural in Hebrew than it would in English. Yes, Abel’s blood
was spilled, ancient Jewish wisdom answers, but his potential descendants’
blood was spilled as well.
This week, Jews are in an intensified mourning period
marking the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Before,
during and after those destructions, millions of Jewish lives ended at the hand
of hatred. It is not at all far-fetched to believe that among those murdered,
were those who might have discovered cures for myriad ills, or given birth to
descendants who would have done so. What potential Jonas Salks, Albert Sabins
or Einsteins never contributed their gifts to the world?
While Jews may have suffered in more times and more places
than other people have, many other ‘bloods’ have also been spilled. Last Friday,
I saw a postcard picturing a lynching in the American South, presented just as
one might find a postcard showing this year’s tulip festival. Was a future Ben
Carson not born because of hatred based on skin color? When 20th
century Communism wiped out tens of millions in the Soviet Union and China, how
many minds did humanity lose that might have invented a new super drug? What baby was never born since abortion
became a trumpeted right, who might have held the ability to find a needed cure
in his or her DNA? We will never know the answers to these questions, any more
than we know what contributions might have emerged from the offspring of thousands
of people who never lived because one man or woman was killed in the 2nd,
11th or 16th centuries.
Applebaum didn’t foresee the tragedy that would strike his family six years
after he wrote the article I read, he did know that the gift of healing God
placed in his hands could be rendered powerless by the evil in another man’s
heart. Coming across Dr. Applebaum’s article reminded me that each of us is
responsible for doing our part to be a light in the world, ensuring that the
wisdom and talent that God grants to his creations to improve life on Earth, lives
4 thoughts on “Blame Humans, Not God”
Susan, thank you for writing. God gives each of us unique gifts, and to have that uniqueness terminated by hate or indifference, makes God cry, I’m sure. I have just received a copy of “Buried Treasure” the same God that created us wants us to prosper, yet when we act like animals we neglect to honor ourselves and our Creator.
Amen, Ms. Susan. You said it so well. He who hates reduces God’s creation. The hater withers the Divine seed. Long ago I was confronted with the paradoxes of my own existence and was overwhelmed. What saved me in the end was when I realized the imperative of my own personal responsibility. I resolved to leave this world if possible in better condition than I found it.
What if each of us would ask ourselves, in planning the smallest of our actions each day, “Will its consequences leave our world in better or worse shape than I found it?”
I read someplace:
Isn’t it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings
And common people like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
To each is given a bag of rules
A shapeless mass, a book of rules
And each must build ere life has flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
– R. Sharpe
This is not meant to butter you up but many times I will read what you have to say first, I find I relate to it so much more. Thank you so much for all your posts they cause me to think and to give thanks to God for all that I have and all that He has given me.
A proper response to a musing on what might have been requires me to look back on my own life and the fact that I’m currently a 58 year old virgin with no prospects for a family and only sustenance income, which makes creating new things for the benefit of humanity difficult for me and impossible for my bloods. But I can claim success in starting two true churches by mail this year, one among teens and another in prison, so I have bloods or children by faith and more coming. A true church differs vastly from a traditional denomination by doing what Jesus did the best we can, instead of naming and claiming it but actually following Paul’s least in the Kingdom example and teaching other ministries than the Creator’s, and as for material contributions to the world I am working on a robot which I hope will give everyone the benefits of being wealthy without needing money.
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