Honorable Mensch-ion

Making the World a Safer Place

The Lubavaticher Rebbe once said, “Evil is simply the absence of good, it has no real existence of its own, and is dispelled in the light of goodness.” The Rebbe’s teaching is a beautiful guide towards making the world a safer place. We know this is easier said than done. Last night, in discussion with Professor Adam Winkler and Dr. Francine Lederer, our community had this exact discussion. While we examined the roots of violence in the workplace, homes, and our society at large, we also heard ways in which we can model for our next generation a life of goodness, tranquility, and peace.

The Rebbe continued, “There are occasions when a knife can be used for evil. yet, the same knife is used for surgery, to save lives. We have the free will to choose what and how we will use these tools. The Torah teaches that one afflicted with the skin ailment of tzaraat, must look into their spiritual life. This person was separated from other for seven days. Sefer Hachinuch explains this action was a healing remedy. This person distances himself from those who may be negatively affecting his behavior.

Today, we are too prone to the “bystander effect.” We are less likely to help a victim when other people are present. Yet, the greater number of bystanders, the less likely any one of them will help. Our tradition teaches the exact opposite. Mitzvah gorreret mitzvah, one mitzvah leads to another. If this dictum leads our lives, the Rebbe will be proved right. Evil will be dispelled and goodness will fill the world.

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