Go down Moses
Way down to Egypt land
Tell ole’ Pharaoh, to
Let my people go!
This week, we begin reading the book of Exodus in the Torah (the Five Books of Moses). The narrative begins with the story of the Israelites enslavement in Egypt. We’re told how God chose Moses to go back to Egypt to help free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s grip.
This week, we are reminded that there are still Pharaohs who exist in this world. They rear their ugly heads under the guise of whatever extremist religion/ideology they tout.
The massacre in France at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in which 12 journalists were murdered by Muslim extremists is reprehensible. The world was, rightfully, outraged. Journalists should be able to freely express their ideas and thoughts without fear of reprisal or revenge.
All over social media, people were uploading images of solidarity and support “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) – even in Hebrew (“Ani Sharlie”).
Then just as the two assailants who perpetrated the heinous crime were caught and killed, another anti-Semitic hate crime occurred in France. This time, it is thought (still to be confirmed) that an associate of the first two militants took hostages at a kosher market earlier today, on Friday, right before Shabbat. Four hostages were killed and five were injured before the rest were freed and the attacker was finally killed in the final rescue.
The Jews in France were told today to “close the doors of their businesses, to stay home from their synagogues.” Is there a fear of more anti-Semitic attacks? Can Jews in France not live safely in their own country any longer?
Over the past few years, anti-Semitism has been rapidly growing in France. Until today, the world has not expressed its horror and indignation in the same manner that it has since the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
An attack against one peoples is an attack against all peoples. As we are told in Genesis: God made humans in the image of God – b’tzelem Elohim (Gen. 1:27). We are all created equally and we all are created in God’s image. If you commit a hate-crime against one people, you commit a hate-crime against God.
Where is the outrage when hate-crimes are committed against Jews? Against women and children in Syria? Against so many others? Does it take an attack against journalists to make us raise our eyebrows about anti-Semitism in France?
Who will be the Moses of today to lead us out of the slavery of the hatred and violence caused by extremists and fanatics?
When will Jews, Muslims, journalists, African-Americans and all people be able to live our lives in peace – and not be afraid?
Moses had the courage to stand up to Pharaoh. He did not back down. We too, need to find the courage and the strength to stand up to the forces of evil, of hatred and violence and not back down.
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Juif. Je suis Musulman. Je suis African-Amerique. Je suis journaliste. Je suis… humain.
I am Charlie. I am Jewish. I am a Muslim. I am African-American. I am a journalist. I am… a human-being.
May the days, weeks and months ahead enable us to find the Moses within each of us. Let us find the words, actions and deeds to rid our world of the Pharaohs , so that each of us may live in this world as a free human-being.