UnderCover Waitress: My Brother's Keeper

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Monday, September 26, 2011

My Brother's Keeper

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Biblical stories are our folklore, our stories, our myths that our elders have told us for generations because they teach a value or a lesson. I am no religious fanatic, but I remind you today of the story of the brothers Cain and Abel.

Jews were a nomadic tribe in our humble beginnings. Cain, the older brother, was an agrarian. He grew grain. Abel, the younger brother, raised sheep like a good little nomad. When the brothers brought their offerings to sacrifice at G-d's alter, G-d liked Abel's offering of a lamb better than Cain's grain and flour.

Cain was embarrassed, jealous, and angry. (Let this be a warning to parents who communicate such preferences to their children.) Cain took his anger out on his little brother, and killed him in a fit of rage. When he saw what he had done, Cain ran and hid.

Abel's blood spilled onto the land and screamed to G-d for justice. G-d heard, and he found Abel's limp, cold and lifeless body. G-d was outraged, and he searched for Cain. He found Cain in the fields.

"Where is your brother?"

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

And G-d marked Cain's forehead as a punishment.

Not only is murder wrong, but the concept "Am I my brother's keeper" has been discussed by philosophers for thousands of years.

Recently, Tea Party and Grand Old Party members cheered at the concept of letting an uninsured man die rather than picking up the tab for his hospital care. When I think of the Tea Party and the GOP, I often think of religious fanatics. You'd think they'd know that we are our brothers' keepers. They may thump the bible, but I question if they ever read it.

I am not a religious fanatic, but I do have ethics.


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