Communal Gifts

It takes a village to raise a child
to raise it and guide it and show it the way.
It takes a village to raze a child
to take all its joy and its self-hood away.

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מתנה נתן הצבור – שחיטתן של היחיד a gift, the community gave – the slaughter of the individual

Notes: Quite a number of things came together to inspire this poem – this morning’s lesson involving a discussion of Victor Frankenstein’s ideas about a parent’s obligations to a child; a Twitter thread that I (perhaps inadvisably) joined, about community representation in Albany and the wrong perception that this gives individuals a voice; transcribing videos of the Internet Asifa and of Agudah Conventions; and of course, my own experiences that are continuous and constant, that struggle with the community-think of my past and my own ever-growing sense of self and independence.

None of this is to say that community has no benefit to anyone, of course. This is just one perception, and one possible side effect of a “tzibbur.”


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