The common good, or the general welfare, requires that Adults see the need for restitution, or other kinds of reparation to restore trust, as earlier generations saw in the book of Exodus. Those two types of repairing go hand in hand with our need, today, to become a more fully inclusive society.
The first reparation happens in last week’s traditional cycle Torah reading. This week’s parashah (Torah reading) continues with Aaron and Moses dealing with Pharaoh, and with the enslaved People of Israel. Last week’s parashah, VaEra, however, started by repairing one problem: Moses’ privilege. It dealt with Moses’ attempt to refuse on the grounds of slowness of speech, yet one article argues that that slowness may have been all in his mind, kind of an inverse to Sherlock Holmes’ concern about arrogance: his own. Both men see potential flaws in themselves, and both seek responses. Moses gets it in his brother Aaron, who has grown up as a slave, unlike Moses’ palace upbringing. Sherlock Holmes gets his remediation in-waiting by asking Dr. Watson to be a brake on any perceived arrogance via a one word reminder of his (imho) most beautiful story, Yellow Face: “Norbury.”
The second repair is made this week, in Parashat Bo. Reparations for 400 years of enslavement by the Egyptians:
דַּבֶּר־נָ֖א בְּאָזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֑ם וְיִשְׁאֲל֞וּ אִ֣ישׁ ׀ מֵאֵ֣ת רֵעֵ֗הוּ וְאִשָּׁה֙ מֵאֵ֣ת רְעוּתָ֔הּ כְּלֵי־כֶ֖סֶף וּכְלֵ֥י זָהָֽב׃
Tell the people to borrow, each man from his neighbor and each woman from hers, objects of silver and gold.”
These reparations happened in cash, so to speak, but there are other ways to repair generational damage, such as scholarships, acknowledgement of the truth of systemic wrongs, help with finding family history, free tutoring, etc, and creation of a floor on poverty for all, which in effect helps most those who have historically been wronged the most. Such a safety net in the long run helps us all.
1.) Search for two different sources related to the concept of restitution
2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.
3.) Share your thoughts on how a study of restitution might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking,
4.) Write a book, blog post or tweet that uses your thoughts, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. If you write a book, once published, please consider donating to your local public library.
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