Dead in a Doorway? Preventing the Murder of the Homeless with Judaism, Justice Tzdek and Charity Tzdekah

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People who have friends and family have better places to sleep than the doorways of New York City.

What's most important to remember is that being homeless, sleeping in a doorway, is a life and death decision. It is a fact that people who have friends and family have better places to sleep than the doorways of New York City, or any city for that matter. If there is a person sleeping in a doorway, it is because that is the best decision available.

If sleeping in a doorway is the "best available", what are the other options? You wouldn't need to understand the reasoning of the homeless person, you can understand with your reasoning. What options would you consider to be less desirable than sleeping in a doorway? If that's not an easy "meditation" for you, then use your imagination.

Being homeless, sleeping in doorways, is a high level meditation on vulnerability, humanity and mortality. In Tibetan Buddhism, this sort of meditation can assist you in realizing "clear mind".

"Clear Mind" is the brain state desirable at the moment of death, because this brain state authentically symbolizes:

    I am beyond the concerns of this world.
    I do not fear death.
    I am free from desire.
    I am not attached to life.

Buddhist monks work to realize "clear mind" within their practice. Homeless people sleeping in doorways realize "clear mind" as a matter of necessity.

What is the value in realizing "clear mind"? What is the value in anything?

When you see someone sleeping in a doorway, remember this, know with certainty: you don't know.

The event we have come to understand as the "Exodus" is not as glamourous as the films and art created to communicate the event. Within the "Exodus", millions of Hebrews stood up with all they could carry and walked into a vast desert with conditions so extreme death was certain.

Humans would only choose to walk into a desert of certain death, following an invisible "god" of whom neither graven nor stone images had been made, if their life conditions were actually worse than walking into the desert.

What are the life conditions that would inspire you to walk into a desert of certain death?

Hebrew Life Conditions in Ancient Egypt

A Hebrew in Ancient Egypt

The first element of standing up from the life condition of sleeping in a doorway is believing that you are worth more than that condition of life, that you ought not tolerate such a life condition and to walk away from any and everyone who communicates to you in their speech and behaviour that a doorway is where you ought live and die.

Let's just be with that.

Do you believe religion is boring? Judaism is more than bagels and old books. Learn more.


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