The United States remains one of only a handful of countries to retain the Fahrenheit temperature system and therefore, we are aware that ice begins to melt as it reaches and moves beyond 32 degrees. How Daniel Fahrenheit’s system places water’s freezing (and melting) temperature at 32 degrees is a complicated story. The number 32, in numerology (gematriya), is the value of the Hebrew word Lev—the heart. The value of the warmth that melts away barriers and let’s caring, concern and compassion flow.
My 7 year-old daughter this past week came to a revelation—she saw a pattern in some of the Disney movies she watches. She called her insight “replacement” as in when one person (character) in the story offers to “replace”—switch places with another. There is the scene in the film Hercules where the Greek god offers Hades, the Lord of the Underworld to switch places with his love interest (Meg), “You like deals, take me in her place,” he says. And in Beauty and the Beast, the heroine Belle offers the beast to stay his prisoner in order to free her father. We began to see this theme in many other (Disney) films—she is too young yet to have read the culminating immortal words of Sidney Carlton in The Tale of Two Cities; “It is a far, far better thing I do today, then I have ever done.”
The seventh principle of awareness, linked to the Sefirah energy of Chesed—unbounded love, guides us to expand our circle of concern, melt away the differences that separate and wall off emotions that we might otherwise feel towards others and moves us to take action.
There have been many ordinary citizens who have offered refuge to immigrants who fear ICE deportation, there are many religious organizations that have set up areas of refuge. Those on the front lines see their efforts as an updated “underground railroad” and as one man interviewed off camera , who has set up a room in his house for immigrants, stated simply: “This isn’t a moment to stand idly by.”
There have been those throughout history who have adopted a “replacement” moral stance—risking their lives or giving up their lives to save others, even strangers. Who at this point can still turn a deaf ear to the wailing cries of children and their parents separated from each other?
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