The Mad Dance of Justice

July 22, 2011Rabbi Joel Simonds

The novelist Meyer Levin tells the story of the "Baal Shem Tov and the Mad Dancers." At a time when the voices of opposition were raised against the Baal Shem Tov's teaching, one of his followers asked him, "How do you respond to the great Rabbis who call your teachings false?" The Baal Shem Tov replied to his young student, "Once, in a house, there was a wedding. The musicians sat in a corner and played upon their instruments, the guests danced to the music and the house was filled with joy.

But a deaf man passed outside the house; he looked in through the window and saw the people whirling about the room, leaping, and throwing about their arms. 'See how they fling themselves about!' he cried, 'it is a house filled with madness!' For he could not hear the music to which they danced."

As I flipped through the news channels these past few weeks, trying to escape the hysteria of the Casey Anthony trial, I felt as if I was the deaf man, looking on at the madness of our society and their fascination and emotional attachment to this trial. As news stations assembled their teams of experts to give commentary as we anxiously waited for the verdict the news failed once again to report on the great atrocities occurring at that very moment from around the world.

Our obsession with the trial overshadowed the horrifying new statistics showing that 1,100 women are raped in Congo each day, nearly one every minute. This means that while the "Breaking News" was covering Casey Anthony's trial, hundreds of women continued to be used as weapons of war.

I wonder what it takes to get the title "Breaking News?"

Protestors stood outside the courthouse with signs and slogans demanding Justice for Caylee Anthony (Z"l). Where is the outrage and protest for the women of Congo? Where is their justice? Have we arrived at a place where genocide as become commonplace? Did the news give this kind of attention to Bosnia and Rwanda? Has the news given this kind of attention to Darfur or Congo? Where is our outrage?

Are we the mad dancers or the deaf man outside? I do not believe that we as a people are apathetic to these crimes against humanity, we simply are unaware. If we can glean a speck of light from the Casey Anthony trial, it's that people in our society are seeking true Justice. Rather than standing outside like the deaf man looking in at the madness, let us join the dancing party, but change the song. The women of Congo are still waiting for justice, the time to act is now.

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