The sage Nachmanides described as an inverted bow the rainbow that God placed in the sky to express God’s covenant with Noah: “[God] has not made the rainbow with its feet bent upward because it might have appeared that arrows were being shot from heaven.
It is indeed the way of warriors to invert the instruments of war which they hold in their hands when calling for peace.”
Your child may feel fear in the presence of a stranger and cry uncontrollably. The tears pour out of her eyes. Your heart crumbles. You feel compelled to wrap your entire being around his little body and protect him through the same powerful inner force that allows a terrified mother to lift a car off her baby.
We, the Jewish people, are painfully aware of the importance of ensuring our children are safe. We are because of the reality that 1.2 million of our children were murdered in the Holocaust stabs wildly at our soul. Our consciousness seems to be raised to higher levels and the fear we harbour for the safety of our people is greater when the issue at hand is children.
But our responsibility to protect our little ones must not only be directed toward our own progeny. We must also take care of those living up the street and others living in countries far enough away that they seem unreal. Consider the following and understand why we are responsible for the children.
According to UNICEF, in the past 20 years, children under 16 have fought in at least 16 wars in 25 countries. In the last decade, two million children have lost their lives because of war.
Armies and soldiers care little about the ages of their enemy. It is standard practice to torture children as part of collective punishment for communities or as a way of extracting information about others. Torturing children! I can think of nothing more inhumane.
Children are frequently tortured for entertainment sake. They are often forced to kill a sibling. My breath is short as I write this.
Women and girls are regularly sexually abused and raped in war zones. In Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia, it was policy to rape teenage girls and force them to give birth to “the enemy’s” children. In Rwanda, almost every young girl who survived an attack by the militia was raped. Many became pregnant. Many were ostracized by their families. Many abandoned their babies. Some of them committed suicide.
When atrocities such as these are committed against children, Jew and non-Jews together must create a vibrant movement in the world called peace. It must be loud enough to permeate the spirits of everyone who has the ability to make peace. We must take care of all the world’s children
It is not enough to be quiet role models for goodness. We must wade out into the world and convert those who will listen and act on our ability to be peaceful. The motivation for such an aggressive pursuit of peace must be the reality that two million children are dead because of war.
We cannot live in such a criminal world! Of course, we must arm ourselves with weapons and fight wars when called upon to do so. But we must always fight on a second front as well – that of respect, understanding and decency toward others. The children of the world cry out to us. Imagine their terror.
It is time we create an aggressive movement centred on the universal idea of loving your fellow human beings as yourself. An honest and wisely thought out movement for peace is good for the Jews. It is paramount for our world.
Remember your children when they wince in fear.
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