This holiday commemorates a lot of terrible, world-shaking events in Jewish history. The destruction of both the First and Second Temples. The expulsions from England and Spain, with their attendant horrors. And the list goes on.
But what always stuck with me was the Rabbis’ interpretation of why all this happened, that the trigger event was a man who accidentally invited his enemy to a party and then threw him out, publicly humiliating him and setting him on a blind course of revenge that destroyed their country. They called it Sinat Hinam, senseless hatred, the most poisonous, destructive force.
Six months into the Trump presidency, the dangers of senseless hatred are very clear. I don’t think I need to tell any one that we need to keep calling out and stopping the senseless hatred of bigots and misogynists. But I will say that we need to avoid falling into the trap of hatred too, of thinking anything that gets Trump out of office faster (or even just allows us to vent our rage and frustration) is okay. Remember that the goal is to get back to a country we can all live in. I have been so grateful for the senators who have fought to protect healthcare, the reporters who have patiently chipped away at layers of lies, the judges and governors who have said Not Here, and Never Again, the activists who have kept them all accountable. It’s slow. It’s hard. But we will get there. We will clean this house without burning it down.