a day with no deaths
Today is the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. I can vividly remember walking into the classroom building of my grad school to be met by the television coverage of that eviscerated building. A quick search of my archives says that I’ve never blogged about it, although I did mention McVeigh in the discussion of who is a terrorist. I don’t remember the news covering it as much in previous years. Is it because horrific events get more attention when their anniversaries end in 5 or 0, or because the prospect of home-grown terror seems more likely this year? Not sure.
And Friday was the third anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting, which still gets a lot of airtime around here, although probably not elsewhere in the country.
I’ve written before that if you go back into history far enough, there’s presumably no date that isn’t soaked in blood. Fortunately, we do have limited memories and most of the horrors are allowed to fade into obscurity.
I’ve been reading about Lag B’Omer because I agreed to lead a service linked to it. Lag B’Omer is a truly minor Jewish holiday, the one day break in a 49 day period where otherwise you’re not supposed to get married or get a haircut. It’s traditionally associated with Rabbi Akiva, and bows and arrows. Sort of hard for me to get excited about. But I went to the Velveteen Rabbi, and here’s what she wrote:
Custom has it that no weddings take place during the Counting of the Omer, because of a plague that struck the disciples of Rabbi Akiva during this period. The exception is on Lag B’Omer, when weddings do take place, because on that day during the plague, nobody died.
Jeff explained this on Friday night at services, before we counted the Omer that night. First he joked that only Jews could make a holiday of a day when nobody died. (We laughed.) And then he observed that, in this day and age, when so many of us begin our mornings by turning on the radio or checking news online to see how many casualties the Iraq war has generated overnight, we might find ourselves identifying with the impulse to celebrate such a day. (We weren’t laughing any more.)
Here’s hoping for a day when we turn on the radio, or check our news aggregators, and don’t hear a single thing about Iraq, Israel/Palestine, or anywhere else in the world where conflicts have been brewing — not because the world isn’t paying attention, but because the killing has finally stopped.