The “Shloshim” or thirty day period of mourning for Cecil the lion is well over. Yet, something tells me that there are countless individuals in this country and elsewhere, who have yet to take heed of the timeless teaching of Kohelet, that there is a time for every purpose under the heaven.
Put differently, I can’t help but feel that there are more individuals than many realize, who have yet to get over the rage they have for Walter Palmer, the hunter, as well as the sorrow they feel for Cecil, the hunted.
I am no hunter. Other than for food and survival, I fail to understand why individuals would want to take the life of a creature that means them no harm. On the other hand, I have no great love for any animal. The best I can do regarding most animals is to muster feelings of indifference.
There are however no feelings of indifference on my part to the aforementioned countless individuals with their rage against the hunter as well as their sorrow for Cecil.
Where is their rage against the senseless murders that take place on a daily basis throughout this country? Where is their rage over the non- stop killings of innocents in Syria and Lebanon?
Where is their sorrow for the children, whose lives were cut short and who will never experience marriage and parenthood?
I recall seeing a tombstone in a Jewish cemetery on Long Island of a six year old boy who died in 1930. I couldn’t help but think that had things been different, he would have served in WWII, returned home, started a career, married, raised a family and hopefully have lived to see grandchildren and great grandchildren. Yet, all this was denied him. As I stood by that grave, tears began to flow. I must be wired differently, because I cry for injustices against humans… whether from HaShem, or otherwise.
A number of years ago, I attended an event here in Dallas, where Brigitte Gabriel spoke about the horror she lived through in Lebanon, courtesy of Syrian shelling. Why didn’t the same bleeding hearts who cried out for a lion, cry out for Brigitte, as well as for thousands of others like her? Why didn’t they express the same rage for the Syrians that they expressed for a Minnesota Dentist, whose practice is now nonexistent, as he currently fears for his life? Please understand! It makes no difference to me whether a lion is being hunted or an elephant. As far as I am concerned, when it comes to sport, hunting is hunting.
Early in his career, Talk Show host Dennis Prager presented the following scenario to a group of High School students: You are walking home, across a foot bridge that spans a river. You look down at the water and you notice that your pet dog is drowning; a man, a total stranger is drowning as well. You are only able to save one of the two. Which one do you save?
An overwhelming number of students said that they would save their pet dog.
It was the prophet Isaiah (V: 20) who said: Woe to them who call bitter sweet and sweet, bitter. Isaiah was decrying distortion of values. The prophet knew only well that once our value system goes, our society can’t be far behind.
By all means, express outrage at an injustice; shed tears for the victim, if it so moves you. Above all, put everything in perspective. Most important however, remember that when it comes to the value of lives of innocent animals and the value of lives of innocent humans, let there never be any equating a life with a life….ever!