The human heart can bridge any distance and heal any wound

By Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

"I'd already known what the Choctaw did in the famine, so short a time after they'd been through the Trail of Tears," Sean Callahan, 43, an Apple administrator in Cork City, who made a donation, said on Tuesday. "It always struck me for its kindness and generosity and I see that too in the Irish people. It seemed the right time to try and pay it back in kind."

Gary Batton, chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, said in a statement on Tuesday that the tribe was "gratified -- and perhaps not at all surprised -- to learn of the assistance our special friends, the Irish, are giving to the Navajo and Hopi Nations. ... We have become kindred spirits with the Irish in the years since the Irish potato famine," he said. "We hope the Irish, Navajo and Hopi peoples develop lasting friendships, as we have."

Cassandra Begay, communications director for the fundraiser, said in an interview, "The Choctaw ancestors planted that seed a long time ago, based off the same fundamental belief of helping someone else. ... It is a dark time for us. The support from Ireland, another country, is phenomenal."

The Russian Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote these despairing words:

"What seems to us more important, more painful, and more unendurable is really not what is more important, more painful and more unendurable, but merely that which is closer to home. Everything distant which for all its moans and muffled cries, its ruined lives and millions of victims, that does not threaten to come rolling up to our threshold today, we consider endurable and of tolerable dimensions."


I believe that if Solzhenitsyn had known some Choctaws he would never have written those words. The human heart can bridge any distance and heal any wound.

Stay Safe.

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including "Religion for Dummies," co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman.)



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