When the Long Night Ends

There is a Hasidic Tale  of an old Rabbi  who once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.   They thought about the answer and had  many suggestions.   They asked “Could it be  when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?”     Or, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?”   With each thought, the Rabbi  told them they were wrong.   Completely exasperated with their trying, they asked the Rabbi to give them his answer.    The  Rabbi looked at them  with love in his eyes and and answered,     “It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night.”

In this broken, fractured world of ours, we need to be reminded that each of us holds a place in God’s heart.   Each of us is precious in God’s eyes.    A society is best when we honor and respect each other . . . When we live with  integrity and trust that neither you nor I will harm the other in the words we use of the stories we tell.  We are best  when we refuse to harm our neighbors and speak up  when we see our neighbors being harmed.   We are best when we can see in the face of any man or woman,  the face of  our sister or our brother.  And in seeing treat each one with the same kind of love, God loves us with.  Only then will our long night of division and hostility end.

The Psalmist Asks “Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose way of life is blameless, who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor.” Psalm 15:1-3 NIVUK

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