In tomorrow’s podcast, our guest will be Yaacov Ben Moshe of Breath of the Beast blog.
We always get a warning that is clear and unequivocal when evil is stalking us. It is up to us to notice. Warnings are all too easy to dismiss. It is a grave responsibility to pay heed to real warnings. It seems so much easier to convince yourself that the warning is not for you, or that the danger is remote and small.
When I was five or six years old, in first grade, my parents enrolled me in an all-girls Catholic school in Puerto Rico. At that time many Cubans had had to exile themselves from Cuba and arrived in Puerto Rico with only the clothes they were wearing. They were not allowed to leave with any personal property at all, including their wedding bands. If the wedding band didn’t come off, it was cut off at the airport.
The nuns in my school took in several Cuban girls on a full scholarship basis (the scholarship part was revealed to me by one of the nuns years later after she had left the convent). Some of those girls were missing a parent. One of the girls was being raised by her maternal grandparents. The same thing happened with other Cuban families that had arrived recently.
Even as a very young child I could understand that this was not due to a divorce or a voluntary separation from the missing parent: it was due because the missing parent was either imprisoned by the Cuban government or dead.
The father of one of the girls had been imprisoned and later was ransomed at very great expense by the man’s relatives. By the time he was released, he had been tortured in a Cuban concentration camp to the point that he had no muscle control.
I was seven years old, and could see that the man on the wheelchair who could not even close his mouth so the drool would stop staining his shirt was not an old man. But he was in worse shape than anyone, no matter how old, that I had met up to then. At that young age, it was the first time that I saw that there is evil in the world, and that it can and will harm us.
In my late teens/early adult years I was much more liberal than I am now, and was inclined to believe that we could possibly “get along” with our enemies if certain criteria were met; that is, if our enemies were explained our point of view and the reasons to believe that we’re all created equal, they would, as reasonable people do, come to an understanding and put down their weapons. My judgement was clouded; I was ignoring evil.
How I had come to that, considering the evidence I had at age seven, I can not really explain, other than the following:
Clearly I was an idiot.
Fast-forward to September 11, 2001.
On September 11, I didn’t even know that the World Trade Center had been attacked until the moment the telephone rang.
I had been out early at the physical therapists’ gym, where I went early every other day after recovering from a neck and back injury in a car accident. My son’s school was scheduled to start the following day, so I brought him with me. Most of the time I play CDs in the car, so I had no news at all.
While I was at the gym, one of the therapists came in, and said, “I just heard on the radio that an airplane collided with the World Trade Center”. Someone remembered the time in the 1930s when a small plane flew into the Empire State building, and we just went back to whatever we were doing.
After I was done at the gym, we drove home, and, since I don’t have the TV on during the daytime, I sat down to have a cup of coffee before taking a shower, when the phone rang. My friend E. was hysterical, crying and screaming, “DID YOU SEE THAT? DID YOU SEE THAT?” She was able to calm down enough to tell me to turn on the TV; when I did, the first tower to collapse had come down and WABC NY – Peter Jennings was talking – was starting to replay it.
I had gone through the WTC every work day for seven years.
Fifty thousand people worked in the WTC, hundreds of thousands went through the building.
Suddenly the phone was on the floor. I could hear E. on the other end. I had to grab a chair and sit down before I could pick up the phone.
I knew we were in the presence of evil. Evil that can and will harm us.
In tomorrow’s podcast, Yaacov will talk about his blog, evil, and Israel’s survival.
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