Moral Cancer

What do “the orthodox”, “the reform”, “haredim (ultra-orthodox)”, “hilonim (secular)”, “settlers”, “Tel-Aviv elite”, “conservative Jews”, “reform Jews”, “reconstructionist Jews”, “renewal Jews”, “humanist Jews”, “democrats”, “republicans”, “leftists”, “rightists”, “academics”, “working slobs”, “likud-niks”, “laborites”, “kadima”, “arabs”, “Palestinians”, “Israelis”, “zionists”, “post-zionists”, “anti-zionists”, “rabbis”, “the IDF (Israel Defense Forces)”, “Obama”, “Netanyahu”, “Peres”, “Barak”, “leftists”, “rightists”, “the rich”, “occupyers” the 1%” and “the 99%” all have in common?  I have seen them, along with myriad other groups,  all in this past year, referred to as “moral cancers”.

I propose that STEREOTYPING, in all its nefarious forms, is the true moral cancer.

When our tradition teaches us דן כן אדם בכף זכות, dan kol adam b’kaf zechut, to judge everyone to be ok, to cut everyone some slack, it’s not only telling us a healthy, moral and loving way to act towards people, but it’s also describing reality.  Although there are those who are truly evil, most people, most times really are trying to do their best to do the right thing.  It’s not an easy task, and each of us fails to meet it once in a while, but usually, most people, most of the time, try.  We each have a unique neshama, soul, and we deserve to be treated, and are obligated to treat everyone, as a unique individual and not as a stereotype.

Ultimately, this is the lesson of our parsha, ויגש, VaYigash, where each of Ya’akov’s twelve sons finally develop as unique personalities, preparing the way for a diverse, but united nation.  Likewise, in the larger context, each human is a unique individual in what will, please God, eventually, become the united enterprise to bring our world to fulfillment.

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