Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday Sermonette: City of Refuge

Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger revisits cities of refuge while discussing last week's Torah portion, Shoftim [emphasis added]
signs at every intersection pointing the way to the "city of refuge" mean that every time one walked along the road there would be a reminder of the society's ideals of fairness and renunciation of revenge. These values would be literally built into the walls of the community, through the placement of the cities equal distances from each other. Society would be founded - in the most literal sense- upon principles of justice, and the roads would teach concepts of mercy, which would then surely transform relationships throughout the wider community.

Roads teaching mercy? Cities built with justice in mind?

This is the Torah's challenge: nothing less than the fundamental orientation of individual hearts and communal structures towards fairness and mercy, with sanctuary and understanding (which does not mean total lack of consequences) for those who inevitably fall short. Human imperfection does not overcome the possibility of human dignity; this is the deepest value of the city of refuge.
This is something we must keep in mind as the gulf coast recovers (and eventually rebuilds) and we remember the events 4 years ago today.

Tags: ; , ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: