There is Just One Flesh to Wound

by Rabbi Alissa Wise

I have come into this world to see this: the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height of their arc of rage because we have finally realized there is just one flesh we can wound.
– Hafiz

Tonight and tomorrow, in the Jewish calendar, could quite possibly be the most powerful day for inspiration toward realizing the justice, equality and self-determination we seek for all people. Purim–where we are invited to get so merry and drunken that we can’t tell the difference between “Blessed be Mordechai” and “Cursed be Haman”.

One of the many explanations and interpretations for why this is the instruction of the day, is from the great Hasidic teacher the Sefas Emes who taught it reminds us that the Jews were saved on Purim not out of merit or deed, but because of God’s love. This is why it is taught that even in the messianic era, when we no longer need to celebrate any other holiday, we will continue to celebrate Purim.

This place — beyond good and evil, blessed or cursed, wrong or the right, morality or immorality — this is the place of ethical power. This is the place of joy we taste on Purim and that we tirelessly work for daily.

Rumi, the 13th century Sufi poet knew the same when he wrote:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about language, ideas, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense.

This is my blessing for us all this Purim — we can taste the sweet pleasure of the dissolution of “us and them” and be in the true unity of our world — the unity that when we taste it we know we can no longer occupy and oppress, hate or hurt – because there is just one flesh we can wound.


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