(noun \ˈant-i-ˌdōt\ definition: a remedy that counteracts the effects of poison)

I don’t doubt the biological imperative of humans to identify danger. The ability to perceive threats to one’s survival was necessary for our ancestors who inhabited the savannah. My concern is that we have cultivated a mindset of fear and hatred toward anyone who is slightly different or strange.

Friday afternoon, Jews around the world will commemorate the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Saturday evening, Jews around the world will commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70. In both cases we remember the violence and tragedy which was the direct result of senseless hatred.

I spent the better part of this week looking for an antidote, wondering if there is anything that one person can do to reverse this fatal trend. Then I received an email from a friend and colleague at Rabbis Without Borders which concluded with a prayer that “we all find random excuses to bring senseless love into the world.” His words inspired me to perform countless acts of kindness—humility prevents me from describing them in detail—and to ask that each recipient “pay it forward” to another person.

I realize that I can only affect small changes in my tiny corner of the world. I can only pray that my actions will generate equal, positive reactions throughout the universe. I can only hope that my prayers will reach the heavens.

Perhaps this realization is the beginning of discovering the antidote.


Comments (2)

As the recipient of much of your kindness this week, I say thank you and offer a promise to pay it forward.

To be fair, those were not acts of senseless love or kindness; it is quite sensible to be kind to one’s spouse. But go ahead and pay it forward. You’ll feel great when you do!

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