July 5, 2015 Yaakov Lyons

More advanced strategy, weaponry, and skills can beat an army regardless of who the “good guys” and  “bad guys” are.

But it isn’t as easy to repulse the attack of truth and information everyone wants the truth, everyone wants to be able to understand reality.  If it is out there, they can find it.

That is why the Germans had to turn to Säuberung, “cleansing,” to rid the world of writings about democracy, sexuality, philosophy, and, of course, anything Jewish.

They knew that it isn’t enough to kill people- they had to kill ideas- and the freedom that comes with them.

Yesterday, a copy of the Talmud was burned in London.  Originally slated to be at the doorstep of a large Jewish community, the British authorities, after being petitioned, had the event moved- but not cancelled.

Now, in our lifetimes, we’re witnessing actions reminiscent of what Jews throughout all time saw before the storm.

We are the “people of the book.”  Which book?  The Talmud is the work which reveals the wisdom, ideals, and profundity of Jewish philosophy.  It champions equality before the law, searching for truth, and charity.  It is the book that teaches us how to unlock the secrets of the Torah scroll.  It is the source for the Hanukkah menorah, Shabbat candles, the kipah, and the time honored custom of answering a question with a question.  In its conversational form, it transports us across oceans and time to place us at the table with some of the greatest scholars whoever lived, and allows us to join in their debates, their meditations, and their love of life.

Even our enemies understand that the Talmud is what makes us, us.

Ultimately, once ideas take hold, they burn hotter and spread faster than any Säuberung.  As long as Jews study the wisdom that can be found in the Talmud, they will possess knowledge, ideals, and a vision that no one can else can destroy.

Based on a talk from Rabbi Shmuel Lynn


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