So, from time to time I hear Mike talk about anti-semitism. I have a natural empathy for people who suffer discrimination for racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, or other reasons relating to their being “different” from another group of people. My empathy might be the result of being a black cat. I have written about this before (Nevermore, February 5, 2017.) I seem to write frequently about prejudice against and persecution of minorities (Veni, vidi, Vici, March 26, 2017; The Crossword Puzzle, September 3, 2017; Itching, Dr. King, and the Holy Land, January 15, 2018; The Mark of Cain, February 25, 2018; He Was a Chazer, June 25, 2018; A Big Tsimmis, October 12, 2019; We’re in the Same Boat Brother, March 21, 2020.) So I guess it must be important to me.
I bring it up now because tonight is the first night of Passover. This, of course, is the holiday which the Jewish people celebrate to honor their liberation from slavery in Egypt over 3000 years ago. I bring it up now because one of the most pernicious of all anti-Jewish lies is the blood libel. The blood libel has its origins in the British Isles around 1000 years ago. The fundamental myth, although it has variations and embellishments, is that every year the Jews murder a Christian child, drain its blood, and use the blood in the making of the Passover matzos. On the face of it, the myth is crazy, and not believable to a rational person. Nevertheless, it has had its proponents in high places, even to the veneration of murdered children, reputed victims of this scheme, to the status of sainthood by both the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches. There have been over 150 recorded instances of public trials, torture, and execution of thousands of Jews after Christian children were either found or alleged to be found murdered, and local Jews were accused. Often these incidents triggered rampages against the local Jewish communities by the Christian peasants, usually spurred on by the local authorities or clergy.
Allegations of Jews practicing human sacrifice go back even further. Josephus, the Jewish historian who recorded the period of time in which the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, rebutted an accusation that was made by the Greco-Egyptian author, Apion, that Jews sacrificed Greek captives on the altar in their Temple. It is true that human sacrifice was commonly practiced by pagan cults in the Middle East both before and after the arrival of the Jewish people in Palestine. It is for this very reason, one can reasonably assume, that the Hebrew Bible highlights the story of Abraham following God’s directive to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, only to be stopped by an angel at the last minute. Abraham is then told that human sacrifice is never acceptable to God. The same story can be found in the Koran, except that in this version of the story it is Abraham’s son, Ishmael, who is not sacrificed. The idea that Jews would consume human blood as part of a religious ritual reflects a total lack of understanding of the Jewish religion. In order to believe such a lie a person would have to be incredibly ignorant. Of course there are always people in authority who will tell lies in order to manipulate others to serve their own ends. This goes on in politics and religion to this day, and probably always will. In fact, the blood libel was alive and well in the 20th century, instances occurring in Russia, Iran, Ukraine, Nazi Germany, England, Poland, and Saudi Arabia. In the 21st century there have been numerous blood libel accusations, mostly coming from Islamic sources. As long as people hate, they will believe what they want to believe to justify their intolerance. I hope people of good will continue to be prayerful about such things, and speak out against such wrongs. I know the cats will.
So, Mike resumes chemo today. He will be on some of the same medicines, and one new medicine. Let’s hope he tolerates it as well as before. He is back on chemo to try to maintain the good response he has had so far to his cancer treatment. Send him some good energy, y’all. Thanks.
Mike had an article entitled “Surviving Sober Living During a Pandemic” published on line at intherooms.com. Here is the link to it: https://www.intherooms.com/home/iloverecovery/all/surviving-sober-living-during-a-pandemic/
From all of us in Happy Meadows to all of you, we hope all is well at your homes, and that you all stay safe and healthy. Don’t forget to pray for world peace. Bye, bye.