Showing posts from April, 2021

Thoughts on the verdict RE the murder of George Floyd: "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16)

Jewish tradition calls us to view events in our lives and in our world through the lens of the Jewish calendar -- and so the Minneapolis verdict that was announced this week resonated in for me in this week’s torah portions of Aharei Mot / Kedoshim, especially in the verse לא תעמד על דם רעך, “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16).  According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 73a), this is the commandment requiring bystanders to become upstanders, with the requirement to save lives of those we see in danger.  The ancient midrashic collection called Sifra adds:  מניין שאם אתה יודע עדות לחברך שאי אתה רשאי לשתוק ת"ל לא תעמוד על דם רעך  “From what verse do we know that someone who knows testimony about another that they are not allowed to be silent?  From the verse:  ‘Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor’ .”  (Sifra Kedoshim 4:8) During George Floyd’s tragic final moments, there were remarkable acts of heroism by many bystanders who became upstanders, peo