by: Emily Goldberg on June 6th, 2012 | Comments Off
Lately, when women are underpaid, or uneducated in our seemingly progressive society, the world erupts in anger. Most state that women are entitled to same human rights as men. This sense of anger continues to elevate when we discover the statistics of homeless and malnourished children in the world. We automatically assume that these numbers are horrifying, for satisfying our stomachs is simply another human right that should not be forgotten in life.
Just recently, a national issue appeared before our eyes in the state of North Carolina; our human rights were challenged, but somehow defeated in one day. On May 8th, the majority voted in favor of Amendment 1, a policy that altered the state constitution by officially prohibiting gay marriage. This new amendment also impacts straight couples; it expunges all legal support between domestic partnerships, civil unions, and all other forms of love that do not meet the standards of the traditional Bible. On May 8th, North Carolina took one step backwards.
Somehow, the world did not express the same kind of global reaction to this violated right. No boycotts, or rallies swept the southern states. Rather, the world at large initially developed an attitude of submission and silence. Somehow, we are continuing to accept that love, a universal and limitless wonder, can be denied to the LGBT community.
Rabbi David Ingber of Kehillat Romemu (www.romemu.org) mentioned in his sermon, “Let Love Win,” that Jews wake up each morning and recite “modeh ani,” a prayer that states our gratitude and submission to God. This concept was then propelled by our rabbis centuries ago as they debated and voiced their beliefs. Whenever they chose to surrender to the others’ opinions, they would say, “modim anachnu,” or modernly speaking, “you win, we give in.” These various debates and moments of surrendering to the other would eventually compile into the rabbinic literature we cherish today.
Rabbi Ingber then expands the idea of theological and Talmudic surrendering to a submission of love. By beginning our days with a sense of optimism and hope, we are allowing love to enter into our lives automatically. By letting love win, we overcome all forms of hatred and discrimination that may tantalize us and give in to pure unity.
While there was a small minority that fervently voted against the injustice of the state constitution, that voice was, unfortunately, unheard this year. Rather than through healthy discussions, the limits of love were determined by the vote of a ballot, therefore forcing the liberal thinkers to “modim” or surrender to a lifestyle that does not meet their own needs.
To deny someone the right to love is like denying a child the right to eat; we exist in a world where both of these social justice issues have become so widespread and common. Essentially everyone wakes up with the idea of “modeh ani” ingrained in his/her mind – however, when “winning” love creates limits and restrictions for others, the genuine love is lost and hatred takes its place.
Today, I mourn alongside the thousands of activists who opposed this amendment in North Carolina. I also mourn for those who cannot yet let love win.