“Each person is a unique creation and is important because he is especially the work of the Creator. This gives him dignity and worth; it speaks of his significance and calls for respect. It is easy, it seems, to bomb masses of people. It is more difficult to do it to the individual. It is easier to hate a group than a person.”
In his radio sermon of April 3, 1966 Rabbi Olan spoke on a topic that he addressed many times and in many ways: the trend toward dehumanization in the very structure of (mid-century) modern life. He pointed out some common examples: the popular tendency to categorize people and then see them as less or other, the massing of more and more students into increasingly impersonal schools, and even computerized dating. (Imagine that!)
To discuss the need for children to receive individual attention and to be taught at their own level, Rabbi Olan turned to the Passover ritual and the wisdom contained therein. He concluded by offering a proactive corrective: “The possibility of the family as the community where we may rescue ourselves from the mass should be seriously considered.” My follow up questions are: Can the family also be a place where we learn to value non-family members for who they are as unique individuals? Is our daily table talk full of divisive generalizations?
To receive the full impact of Rabbi Olan’s message, read on or listen in through the links below.
*Written by Tim Binkley.*