The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

Why aren’t poppies more popular?

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1.  Sensitivity is the key Jewish value.  This week’s Torah reading finds Abraham – who discovered Judaism – exploring with God how to maximise the opportunities for even the most wicked and greedy of all cultures, the connurbation of Sodom and Gemorrah, to escape total destruction.  And it finds him building a religious philosophy based on the concept of welcoming guests and visitors from all corners of the cultural globe, and ministering to the needs of each with a unique sensitivity.

2.  So presumably the orthodox Jewish community will be alert for ways of feeling and showing sensitivity to others.  Sensitivity to the feelings of those who fought, or whose families fought, to preserve a malchus shel chesed – a free and democratic society – where every religion and culture could receive respect and could cherish its own culture and values alongside those of its host society?  Sensitivity to the grief of those who every year mourn those who lost their lives in the battle for this country’s freedom.  And sensitivity to the desire of a free nation to mark its feelings of the senselessness and wickedness of the lust and ambition that soaked the fields of Europe twice in the blood of those whose lives should have been dedicated to something better; the blood-soaked fields of the World War One trenches, whose blood-red poppies were gathered as the guns fell silent in spontaneous tribute to those who fell.

3.  The ranks of the orthodox community should be ablaze with poppies between now and Remembrance Day.  It is a rare opportunity to share a cultural and non-religious symbol with all those who live around us, men and women of all religions or of no religion.  There are still a few days left to buy our poppies and show Abraham’s sensitivity to those around us – let’s get buying.


Written by Daniel Greenberg

November 6, 2009 at 7:59 am

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