Simeon and Levi are a pair/Their weapons are tools of lawlessness. Let not their person be included in my council/Let not my being be counted in their assembly. (Parashat Vayehi, Genesis 49:5)
In my commentary on these verses last year, I suggested that Simeon and Levi represent the Torah’s paradigm for unchecked, unmitigated violence. This past week, we received the good news that our nation had made one small step toward alleviating Simeon and Levi’s legacy from our midst.
On Wednesday, Congress passed the first major piece of legislation to reduce gun violence in over a decade. The “National Instant Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act of 2007” (HR 2640) was passed by unanimous consent in the House and Senate and will now go to President Bush for his signature. You may recall that this legislation was passed in response to the Virginia Tech massacre last year. (It was widely reported that the VT gunman was able to obtain a firearm because the court order that should have blocked his gun purchase was not reported to the national background check system.)
In the spirit of this week’s Torah portion which disavows “tools of lawlessness,” let’s call President Bush at 202.456.1111 and urge him to sign the NICS Improvement Act immediately.
Chazak, chazak, Ve’nitchazek: May our shared resolve strengthen us to create a world of justice, safety, and peace.