I have been reading Rabbi Jonathan Sacks study of the rise of Nazi Germany and am saddened by not only those events but by observing some cultural similarities between the 1930s German culture and our own 2019 culture. The overwhelmingly feeling, I am getting, is that of a destructive tendency that seems to dehumanize a portion of society, and hence, to commit mass violence against it. We create scapegoats of people that we do not like. We call a select group of people by derogatory names telling them they are not wanted. When we do that, we dehumanize them. They are now an object instead of a person for whom we have feelings. Hate and rage rule our behavior instead of compassion, empathy, and care. A large part of the recent rhetoric in public places has been to scapegoat minority groups. This makes me wonder how we can love either God or our neighbor. You see when we dehumanize someone, individuals or groups, we not only make them objects which we do not have to treat kindly, but we create objects of ourselves. We are now ruled by our hate and rage toward the other and have lost our own capacity to feel loving toward them or ourselves. Hate and rage are all-consuming. They are feelings that destroy the object of hatred or rage and the hater. To love God, our neighbor and ourselves, we must have access to our emotions, our feelings of compassion, caring, and empathy. We cannot do that when we are blinded by name-calling and the desire to kill, to be rid of a cancer in our midst. The outsider, the stranger is there for us to love or care for in order that we discover our own humanity.