We've Been Here Before

Jewish history has a long memory. The Talmud describes the brutal destruction of the Jewish temple in the year 70. Roman legionnaires sacked Jerusalem and eventually massacred more than a million Jewish men, women and children by sword, fire and crucifix.

The rabbis of that period could not comprehend the horrors that befell them. Some of the most erudite scholars tried to understand how the great Greco-Roman culture could perform such hideous acts of barbarism. How did this happen?

Emperors such as Julius Caesar and Augustus were succeeded by less and less competent, and more corrupt, leaders. How did they win over the Roman people? DIVIDE AND CONQUER. They turned brother against sister, planting the fear that unless they put all their trust and belief in the emperor, they would be devoured by their enemies.

Of course, none of that was true—but the truth didn’t matter. Whatever the narcissistic monarch preached was what the people were told to believe. Anyone who dared challenge his lies suffered a torturous death, often with his entire family, and sometimes the entire village.

The individual who attacked worshippers at Tree of Life Synagogue had the same mindset as the people of ancient Rome—to destroy the state’s “enemies” as a statement of loyalty to oblige the expectations of the “emperor.”

We must heed the message of George Santayana:

THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.


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