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"God is the ultimate Non-Fungible Token" or "Dear Texas State  Reps..."

04/14/2021 03:30:19 PM

Apr14

Pharaoh looked down into Goshen and instead of seeing the industriousness and creativity of Joseph’s progeny, he discerned a threat.  With no noted precursor or precedent that might raise suspicion, the Israelites were a risk he wouldn’t abide.  Israel, to his mind, was too successful, growing too quickly. They were different and thus they were “other.” Those who were at first threatened refugees from a blight in the land, from which Egypt was saved only thanks to one of Jacob's (Israel’s) sons, were now transforming in Pharaoh’s mind, into those who would necessarily rise up and undermine his hegemony.  Thus, Pharaoh targeted Israel by “othering” them, as he weaved outlandish stories of their magical powers of propagation and resistance.  It would therefore be up to Moses, in the name of the God who liberates the oppressed, to lead the Israelites from slavery to freedom.  Israel assuredly wasn’t magically powerful or inherently bent on overtaking the Pharaoh’s throne, but neither were they less worthy of life than their Egyptian slave masters. 

Imagination and vision.  These are the precious domains of the human mind and human heart.  They are what makes us holy, as in “distinct,” from all other aspects of creation.  In this instance though, “Holy” doesn’t necessarily mean good or kind or just.  For it is precisely the imagination and vision of human beings, by which we are able to articulate the infinite value of each and every other human being, that can also lead us to deem “others” as less so.  It is our acuity to imagine the inner worth of another, especially one who appears or speaks or believes or affirms differently than we, that makes God’s grand experiment in humanity possible. Experiment?  Yes.  We haven’t quite proven God’s theory that if we human beings were given both a physical manifestation, as well as a mind that can envision far beyond what we see and know, that we will learn to consistently apply it for the good of the individuals and the world around us.

Unfortunately, as a "species," we are too often unwilling to allow for the possibility that our own understanding, or that of our social cohorts, our communities, our tribes, is too limited in breadth and depth to encompass all possible and peaceful forms of human expression.  As human beings, even with our knowledge of human history, we remain too committed to our tribes’ notions of identity, that it is to the detriment of the self-expression of others.  Too often, we act like its a threat to our own well-being.  Too often, especially with the grip of power in hand, we stand like Pharaoh, shocked by how others seek to live their truth and devise stories that don't diminish these others, but actually "aggrandize" them with mythical power that therefore must be halted. To wit, in the face of truly pressing needs, our Texas state representatives busy themselves with legislation that would deny trans-children access to health, safety and well-being, and would criminalize their parents for pursuing it, (see Senate Bills 1311 and 1646 and House Bills 1399 and 1424). Why is it that these Texas legislators perceive themselves as Pharaoh and not as Moses?  Is access to human identity so scarce that when one exercises their own divine right to express on the outside what they know to be true on the inside, that it is necessarily a threat to you? 

Perhaps you could take a cue from cyberspace.  You may have heard of this relatively new concept of identifying “the real Mccoy” of any particular “online entity” called a “Non Fungible Token” or “NFT” for short.  Recently, an artist named “Beeple” sold the NFT of his digital art installation for $68M and a New York Times reporter sold the NFT of his article about NFT’s for over $500,000.  The idea being that even though one can make infinite digital copies of anything online that will look and act exactly like the original, it is still possible to own it.  God is the ultimate NFT, but in Jewish tradition, while God’s image (the original) is the progenitor of all human beings, the beauty of creation is that each “copy” made is infinitely valuable.  Regardless of how different each of us look, act, love, and express ourselves, as long as we are not causing harm to another, we are a completely unique and beautiful expression of the Divine.  Imagine God as a single light passing through a prism, with rainbow of color flowing out from the other side.  Each of us is a part of that rainbow but in the end, we all trace our origins to that original unity.

Representatives, quit your bluster.  It’s a distraction and we all deserve more from you.  Please be our Moses and leave Pharaoh in the dust heap of history where he belongs.  The Prophet Micah asks, “What does God ask of us?  To do justice, to act with mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  How do your efforts comport with such a demand?

 

Mon, September 27 2021 21 Tishrei 5782