The Qualified Quest for Justice

Jews, Christians and Muslims Unite Against Evildoers

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

Just days ago, throughout the globe, people celebrated religious holidays.  Peace on Earth and good will to all men was the palpable feeling that filled the air.  Everywhere anyone turned expressions of fondness for our fellow beings could be heard.  People were filled with glee.  Then, suddenly, the sound that is the silent hum of joyous laughter was broken.  Everything changed.  Yet, indeed nothing did.  The cycle of violence that has perpetually existed on this planet began again.  The qualified quest for justice was once more the people’s agenda.  In Israel and Gaza, bombs blasted.  Bullets whizzed by the heads of frantic, frightened people who sought shelter from another Mediterranean storm.  Some died.  Hamas was blamed for the initial attacks, this time.  As had occurred on other occasions, Israel, in the name of self-defense, fought back.  The roles might have been reversed and have been.

Each believes the other is at fault.  One force characterizes the antagonist as an occupier.  Late in 2008, the people who are said to have been the provocateurs are tagged as terrorists.  The monikers are interchangeable and have been for centuries.

This recent barrage of words and weapons was not the first on sacred terrain.  No one expects it will be the last.  Apparently, today, as has been true for eons, people have accepted peace as a temporal occurrence.  It is always followed by war.  

Pious people only pretend to honor the hallowed Commandment found in every faith, “Thou shalt not kill.”  In truth, on some principle not evident in scriptures, the Bible, the Qur’an, or other religious teaching, humans conclude all men and Not created equal.

For the wise, the worthy, the wondrous creatures who believe all beings are created equally, and in G-d’s image, the concept of fairness and empathy for all others are only ones of convenience.  These can be, and by all means should be, ignored, when a country, clan, chap, or cute daughter of Eve feels there is reason for self-defense.  When the quest for conquest is greater than the desire for tranquility, justice is found in a series of deadly explosions!

Rational persons become self-righteous when they feel attacked or wish to assault another.  Whatever excuses an ethical individual, or a respectable region, can find to intellectualize war will serve a being who wishes to be brutal.  One need only reflect upon the writings of a few to understand why warfare never ends.

In what would become a foundation for America, within the Declaration of Independence, the words of Thomas Jefferson appear, “All me are created equal.”  This thought was meant to remind citizens of this country of a tenet adopted in ancient times, by not just one, but by many religions.  

A Jewish theologian, Torah scholar, Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld reflects on a historical reality rarely honored by modern man.  “(A)ll men are created equal” (women too for that matter), and, as eloquently as Thomas Jefferson put it, this comes directly from our own Torah.  Maimonides (Mishne Torah, Hil’ Teshuva 5:2) writes that unlike the belief of foolish Gentiles and unlearned Jews that each person is predestined to good or evil, it is within the ability of each person to determine his or her own fate.”

Rabbi Rosenfeld then further elucidates each of us can be virtuous or iniquitous.  As individuals, apart from our intellectual measure, personal milieu, history, monetary means, or influence we have the capacity to choose what we wish to do and who we yearn to be.

The scholar and teacher of Torah, Dovid Rosenfeld shares the observations of another, devout academician, Dean of Aish HaTorah International, Rabbi Noach Weinberg (, “We are certainly not equal when it comes to talents, predilections, or natural abilities.  But in this one regard we are all equal: we all possess souls.  We have the potential to develop ourselves, whether in goodness or wickedness, and we possess the free will to determine which path we will follow.  Goodness and closeness to G-d are not reserved for the intellectual, the scholarly, or the well-pedigreed.  It is the inherent right of all mankind and the simple fact of our humanity.”

While many amongst the Jewish faithful quote the wisdom of each of these devout devotees of the Almighty, the significance of the statements is void in action.  The same is true in Islamic tradition.  Several fervent followers find solace in the scriptures; indeed, “The Glorious Qur’an mentions, with commendation, Prophet Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as it does to Prophet Moses (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),” others who purport to believe in teachings of Islam, Hamas amid these, ignore the splendor found in the religious text.

Islam aims at eliminating all aspects of racism and dislikes prejudiced-oriented party gatherings.  Islam, equally, disapproves all acts leading to disputes, fights, among individuals and peoples.  Islam requires its followers to believe in the Divine Messages and Scriptures of all previous nations [community] in order to eliminate any hatred or biased feelings.  Islam considers such an act as one of the essential tenants of faith.

While the most boisterous today, and for centuries, have beat the battle drums, murdered, caused mayhem, massacred, and engaged in the most dire deeds, all in the name of justice, a very few participate in another, more harmonic quest.  

These individuals believe in sacrosanct traditions too.  The truly peaceful propose actions must reflect religious and rational reason.  Those who work towards universal serenity walk with the Lord on holy days and during the most mundane of times.  Advocates of amicable exchanges and equality for all, aspire to a stable serenity, as is referenced in theological text.  

“Pacifists,”, do not adopt the vicious edicts of those who think war will bring about peace, albeit, the warriors admit, provisionally.  The tranquil people have faith that all men, women, and children can choose how they wish to respond to conflict.  People are free to engage in good or evil.

Those on a quest for nonviolent justice, one without qualifiers that restrict the significance of religious commandments, talk without the accompaniment of a big stick.  They walk with a sincere sense of awe for kindnesses.  They also type articles that advocate for empathy and avoid the argument of self-defense.

Thus, on November 10, 2000, Deborah Ducrocq, then Managing Editor of the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, a devout Jew in her own right, published an article, she received.  The missive penned by another Judaic faithful, Judith Stone, is titled, “The Quest for Justice.” The tone and transcript were considered controversial by the clannish amongst the American Jews.  Indeed, after the missive appeared, the Ms Ducrocq was promptly dismissed by her ?superiors.

Yet, as much as the words offended the Jewish employers, for persons who struggle with a spiritual history, Jew, Gentile, and Islamist who yearn for authentic and lasting global harmony, the wisdom Judith Stone inscribed, and Deborah Ducrocq delivered, resonates.

While some might say this early essay is no longer politically pertinent, others trust, the sentiment expressed is as valid today as it was then, and will be tomorrow.  

“Quest for Justice”

By Judith Stone

I am a Jew.  I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to Palestine.  It was the right thing to do.  I’ve heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child.  I’ve visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I’ve cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.

Where are the Jews of conscience?  No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitler’s holocaust.  These fragments of humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival.  We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity.

“Never again” as a motto, rings hollow when it means “never again to us alone.”  My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the sand.  The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to these desert dwellers.  Golda Mier even assured us that there “is no Palestinian problem.”

We know now this picture wasn’t as it was painted.  Palestine was a land filled with people who called it home.  There were thriving towns and villages, schools and hospitals.  There were Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere 7 percent of the population and owned 3 percent of the land.

Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to the suffering of others.  These people knew what it felt like to be ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot.  The people who displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your home in flames, to surrender everything dear to your heart at a moment’s notice.  Bulldozers leveled hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants, the old, and the young.  This was nothing new to the world.

Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe.  Israel is the final resting place of the massacred Palestinian people.  A short distance from the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe there is a leveled parking lot.  Under this parking lot is what’s left of a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women, and children whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously.  This particular burial marker reads: “Public Parking.”

I’ve talked with Palestinians.  I have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasn’t lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison.  Time and time again, Israel is cited for human rights violations to no avail.  On a recent trip to Israel, I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have waited 52 years in these ‘temporary’ camps to go home.  Every Palestinian grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and where the olive trees were planted.

Their grandchildren may never have been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies buried and where the village well stood.  The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist.  But, the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes.  Those who lost their lives are called martyrs.  The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist.

Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry.  University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (April 30, 1995), “The [Jewish] children of Hebron are just like Hitler’s youth.”

We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes, land, slave labor and back wages in Europe.  Am I a traitor of a Jew for supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned?

The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the Palestinian massacred be resurrected.  David Ben Gurion said, “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves… politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country…”

Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people.  It’s cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced by tidy Hebrew signs.  The history of a people was the first thing eradicated by the occupiers.  The history of the indigenous people has been all but eradicated as though they never existed.  And all this has been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of G-d.  We must recognize that Israel’s existence is not even a question of legality so much as it is an illegal fait accompli realized through the use of force while supported by the Western powers.  The UN missions directed at Israel in attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile.

In Hertzl’s “The Jewish State,” the father of Zionism said, “…We must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient.”  I guess I agree with Ehud Barak (3 June 1998) when he said, “If I were a Palestinian, I’d also join a terror group.”  I’d go a step further perhaps.  Rather than throwing little stones in desperation, I’d hurtle a boulder.

Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-d’s restitution of the holy land to it’s rightful owners.  We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn’t come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

We cannot continue to say, “But what were we to do?”  Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism.  I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.

Indeed, what is to be done amidst the bombs and bullets.  Those who have faith in talk, treatises that remain forever intact and tranquility can only bemoan the truth when they witness calm, compassionate, persons, who say they care for all mankind, become clannish when they chatter about political agendas in the Middle East.  

What can anyone do when people preach peace and practice violence in the name of the Lord, Allah, or the Almighty, or even atheist theories.   When the pious come to blows, fist to cuffs, as they fight for freedom and justice for all, or at least all who look or live as they do, what do the quieter “others” do?

The peace lover takes no comfort in the obvious; canons are practiced inconsistently.  Even the religious are ready to attack.  Excuses are made.  Each nation and its inhabitants offer validation for vicious, vindictive, imprudent assaults.  Nor does the antiwar wish to ask questions that are never truly answered.  Is it ethical, inevitable, eternal, and when, or how will it ever end.  Conscientious objector to combat acknowledge the mantra will likely be reactive.  Attack; inquire of ethics anon.

This is why peaceful persons might try not to actively engage in discussions of the affairs in the Mediterranean, ever.  They know.  While warriors wish to answer such inquiries with another, “What would you do if your home were blasted, would you retaliate?”  The peaceful can only ponder, what is this strange quest for justice?  Revenge?

“Don’t take vengeance and don’t bear a grudge against the members of your nation; love your neighbor as yourself”. (Leviticus 19:18.)

~ Torah

“Those who spend in ease as well as in adversity and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men.”

~ Qur’an

Religious References . . .

Perils of Being a Jew

© copyright 2008 Storm Bear. Town Called Dobson

To view the original, travel to a Town Called Dobson. Perils of Being a Jew

A good friend of mine was telling me a story about some new people he met recently – he was the first Jew they had ever met. In their curiosity, they had a laundry list of questions based on anti-Semitic comments they had heard probably their whole lives.

“No, we do not own the media.”

It is good that uninformed people seek to find the truth, but in the 21st Century, one would hope this level of stuff would no longer be necessary. But alas, Rupert Murdoch is not Jewish. Steve Jobs, the largest shareholder of Disney is not Jewish. Steven Spielberg is Jewish however, but he does not own the media – he is a filmmaker. Robert Rodriguez is also a filmmaker but he is not Jewish and neither of them run the Evening News.

So my ultra-patient friend sat through the eye-rolling questions. No, they do not sacrifice babies. They do not have a secret base on the dark side of the moon.

And no, Israel does not have a fleet of flying saucers.

Honoring A Humanitarian ©

The passing of the Pope has become a world event. People from all walks of life are converging to extend their condolences. Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Protestants, and even atheists are uniting; they are coming together in Rome to honor the passing of a great man and humanitarian. All are welcome; none are excluded from this experience, or are they?

A man also known for his humanity and strong faith, former President Jimmy Carter, will not visit Rome. Initially, President Carter did wish to pay his respects personally; he stated his desire aloud. However, he was informed by the current administration that he could not attend, or at least he could not be part of the official delegation. Our current President chose to limit the number of American “dignitaries” to five. I do not wonder why; I am only sad for the state of our affairs.

CBS News touches on the tale.
NBC Nightly News did an exposé.
The Today Show also discussed this dilemma, reminding us that Jimmy Carter was the first American President to welcome a Pope, this Pope, the people’s Pope, to the Whitehouse. Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Carter frequently worked with Pope John Paul II; both were interested in pursuing world peace. Please view the video.
The Manila Bulletin offers this report.

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus ©

Please tell me that it is not so!  Is it, as I heard twice today.  Is all the anger that we are hearing of in the news, reading of in the newspapers, and seeing at the stores, not really a rail against the retailers for saying "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas?"  Is it, as a devout Christian told me today; Christians truly believe and are upset because  “They, “the Jews,” are making money from the Christian holiday of Christmas?”  Please tell me, is this the true cause for all this commotion?  Do Christians believe that all merchants, manufacturers, and marketers are Jewish?  Are only “they,” the Jews, profiting from and commercializing the birth of Christ?  Are all those that express “Happy Holidays” condescending, criminal, or coddling the Christians; or is it only Jews that do these dastardly deeds?

Is it true that in this free market society, one considered “Judeo-Christian,” and one that I thought was accepting and inclusive of more than Christians, people no longer espouse the principles that this country was founded on?  Are religious freedom, free enterprise, and free speech, now a reason for protest and picketing?  Are these principles no longer, as we prefer and prosper from?  If this is true, than I am very confused and concerned!

Having had a conversation with a beloved Christian, one that states that unless one is Christian they cannot understand how it feels not to be honored for what they believe, for what they practice, and for who they are, I wonder how can this be.  Is there a being alive that has not felt, at some time or another as though they were not being honored for their beliefs, practices, and for who they are?  How must it feel to be black in a white world, Asian, in a world where Caucasian is considered the look of beauty, Islamic, Muslim, Moslem, Persian, Iranian, Iraqi, or Afghani living in America after 911.  How might it feel to be physically less able in a world of the physically able?  We are all different than others, yet, we experience similar.

If Christians think that non-Christians do not know how it feels when they are not acknowledged and honored for their faith, beliefs, race, or religion, I ask them to please imagine what it feels like not to be Christian in a Christian country, especially during Christian holidays.  One can imagine, if they choose to, how it feels to be in the moccasins of another.  However, in this recent conversation, the moccasins of empathy were empty.  The beloved Christian continued,  “When people express wishes of “Happy Holidays,” to a Christian, they are not acknowledging that this is Christmas.”  She expressed that these supposed well wishes cause Christians, such as she, to feel angry, disrespected, hurt, fearful, or as though they are  . . .?

I ask; is this not the season of many holy days, some holier than others, depending on one’s personal philosophies?  Is this not the winter solstice, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, the time for atheistic, agnostic, Buddhist, Moslem, Islamic, any, and every other being’s holy days?  Are these not the days in which we would wish any of them, all of them, no matter what their beliefs, the happiest of holy days, otherwise known as ??holidays?’
Merriam Webster defines holy as . . .
1: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
2: DIVINE  “for the Lord our God is holy,” Psalms 99:9 (Authorized Version)
3: devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
4: having a divine quality
No matter what your faith, are all days not holy?  Would we not all wish to be honored each and every holy day?  Would we not wish for the happiness of others and enjoy well wishes bestowed upon us?  On each and every day, would we not wish to be honored for what we believe, no matter what our beliefs?  Would we not wish for “happiness,” for one, and for all?  Would we not wish to be acknowledged for who we are, as we are, even by persons that barely know us? 

Are wishes of joy and happiness offensive?  Why is it that Christians, those deeply connected to their faith, to the trinity, to their Lord Jesus Christ, do not choose to practice as the Lord preaches?  Would the Christian community not wish to treat others, as they would wish to be treated?  Yet, I was told that, as a non-Christian I could not, would not, understand how it feels to have others wish them “Happy Holidays!”  I was told that the Jews are using this, the Christian holiday, to help only themselves; that they are patronizing their patronage.

I understand that billions do not celebrate Christmas.  Yet, the millions that do expect non-Christian persons to be joyous when greeted with the salutation of “Merry Christmas.”  Many assume and presume that because they are, many are, and some are celebrating Christmas, that we are all celebrating Christmas.  Yet, not all of us are.  Nonetheless, in America, Christmas is imposed upon us all, proposed to be the only celebration of importance in this winter season.  Evidence of this is that, it is said, recently shouted, that the only proper greeting during this [shopping] season is “Merry Christmas” and that wishing others their “happiness” is offensive.

Today I was told that it is tradition, it is just, justice, and that, just for “us,” the chosen gesture must be “Merry Christmas!”  Thus, I ask, "Is today, and are all days from November through December to be celebrated as though they are Christmas Day?”  Does each of these days celebrate the birth of Christ?  I thought that birth occurred only on a day and that Christmas was the celebration of that day.  I have heard that some celebrate for twelve days.  However, I did not realize that once Christians choose to begin partaking in the spirit of their Christmas consumption we must all consume solely for Christmas.  I had no idea that once they began shopping for their spouses, siblings, supervisors, and sweethearts, it is then required that all shoppers must do the same.

I wonder and ask, be it Christmas or not, is it not true that people shop; they shop for all seasons, for all reasons, Christmas, being one among many.  People need not shop to celebrate Christmas or any other commemoration.  Yet, people are shopping!  I thought that the stores were open to all, always, Christians, and those that are not.  I thought that the stores were open to all, always, even those that do not celebrate this, or any other “official” holiday.

Currently, the stores, possibly the stated policies or practices of these stores, or those that work within the stores, seem to be the source of such controversy.  Expressions of "Happy Holidays" heard by sales associates and displayed in shops rather than seem to be inciting and inflaming the Christian community.  Yet, the stores, or the sales associates, do not know our practices, our faith, or our preference for a salutation unless we are wearing signs saying, "Please recognize me as a Christian, a Jew, an atheist, an agnostic, a Buddhist, a Shaman, a sage, or a scientist.”  Nor do they have the time to discern who we are and what we want.  They see us once or twice, and even then, only for a moment.

Would we wish “them” to judge us, label us, based solely on our physical appearance?  Would we hope that, they will attempt to determine our religious practices or preferences, based solely on what they believe or on what they see.  Without personal knowledge of who we are or what we believe how can they address us so as not to offend?  We may be Christian, we may not be.  Therefore, they attempt to honor us and honor a truth that is true for all of us, each day; they wish us happiness, on this, any, and every holy day!!!

This is what I was saying to the beloved Christian, then, it was said, "The Jews are making money on our holiday!"  I was dumbfounded!!!!!!!  Minutes later, after leaving this discussion with hopes that we came to some convergence, I turned on the radio, an AM station.  The station was advertising one of their programs.  They aired a clip, one in which a famous commentator is heard to express the same, “The Jews are making money on our Christian holiday!”

Wow, I thought!  Are there not those of any, or many religions that are wealthy?  Are some, several, and even scores of these wealthy ones not Jewish?  Are only Jews profiting and are only Jews proprietors?

For me, this is fascinating!  The folly of history seems to continue.  Throughout history, Jews were denied entrance into states, colonies, and nations and even when they were allowed to live amongst the others, more often than not they were denied the right to own property, a business, and, therefore, went into businesses that allowed them to survive?  Often banking, medicine, and law were the only opportunities open to Jews
The Jewish culture thrives on learning, comprehensively, discussing endlessly, looking, and listening, they learn their crafts well.  Are they to be criticized for this?  Can we all not choose to learn our lessons well?  Can we choose to do well?

Who among us would not wish for abundance?  Is there not abundance for all? Did God not, in his infinite wisdom, create a world that continually creates and creates?  If we take cups of water from the ocean, will the ocean not replenish itself?  Nature, God, creates and creates, consistently!  The universe, nature, the ocean, and God do not know of depleting or deficits.  Consider cancer, insects, and fungi; they grow, strive, thrive, and survive. Abundance abounds and is available for all. Why we would wish to covet our neighbor’s possessions?  Oh my gosh, is this not one of the commandments?  Yet, what of “them,” the “Jews?”

Please tell me that it is not so; are Christians protesting and picketing the stores, is their desire to be spoken to with respect, to be honored for their Christian faith?  Is the reaction to the words “Happy Holidays” really a reaction to an erroneous belief that Jews are making money on a Christian holiday?  Sadly, I asked.

I was greeted with grunts of commercialism, capitalizing on the Christians.  This complaint comes from one that loudly voices her love of country, a country that promotes capitalism, free enterprise, and free markets.  How odd this is to me.  Did the early Christian settlers not create this prized system and is it not true that today’s Christians also prosper from these principles.  Thinking of this, I ask, “If you do not appreciate the commercialism of celebrations, do not desire consumerism, materialism, and marketing manias, then why not choose your own path, without accusing, begrudging, belittling, or bemoaning others for their choices.”

Ah, those others, “them,” the Jews.  I wonder was Jesus not a Jew and did he not profess, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.”  Is there a sin in attempting to honor another and all for who they might be and what they might be celebrating?  Can any of us truly know the minds or motivations of another?  Would it not be best to consider that just as any of us believe that we would, others, even “they” are intending to honor you?

For me, I know that if you are looking for a reason to be offended, you can and will always find one!  A Christian businessman, Henry Ford, once stated, “No matter what you believe, you are correct!”  If you believe that others are after you, that they are influenced by Satan, that they sin, if you believe that people are basically good, at times making unwise, unhealthy choices, you will be correct.  What ever you believe, you first learn it, and then live it; ultimately, you experience it.  Your beliefs are confirmed in everything you see, do, think, and are.  For just as I can and do, you too will justify your beliefs, rationalize them, intellectualize them, and prove them true.  For, “As you think [to your core, not as you say you believe,] so shall you be.”

With concern for thinking and being, in 1887; The New York Sun chose to respond to skepticism and cynicism with this editorial . . .
Virginia, your little friends are wrong.  They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.  They do not believe except what they see.  They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.  All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little.  In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Alas!  How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus!  It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.  There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, and no romance to make tolerable this existence.  We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight.  The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Now, Pray tell all “Virginia[s],” what do you wish to think and to be?