“Scatter the peoples who delight in wars!” (68:31)
I understand the need for military action or war and I might even cheer when a really bad guy is taken down. But war inevitably leads to the death of innocent people. Soldiers sent to do a job suffer death and injury. Civilian casualties are virtually certain, no matter how carefully the rules of war try to minimize them. The destruction of the infrastructure, such as rail lines, roads, water treatment facilities, and businesses, destroys the economy and takes years, even decades, to rebuild. In the meantime, people suffer and die, not because they are supporters of the evil regime but because they happened to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want my elected representatives to abhor war.
“They come back each evening howling like dogs.” (59:7)
A dog barks when it feels threatened or it is protecting its pack. Small dogs bark more than large dogs, who need only growl to be taken seriously. Small dogs will bite more often precisely because their bark is not taken seriously enough. We can draw two lessons from this: First, when someone makes threats, take them seriously, no matter how much you believe that the individual is not serious. Second, just as under the right circumstances it is possible to make friends with most barking dogs, never forget that under the right conditions, almost every enemy can become a friend.
“Regarding the silent, far-away, dove …” (56:1)
The doomsday clock hangs on a wall in the University of Chicago’s office of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Standing two and a half minutes before midnight, it signifies how close the world is to a global catastrophe.
A dove is a symbol of gentleness and peace. The closer the hands on the doomsday clock are to midnight, the farther away is the dove. The closer in we bring the dove, the farther back the hands move. While the achievement of world peace is not entirely in our hands, we do have the power to lay the groundwork to let the dove know that she is welcome.