The news these last few weeks from Beit Shemesh about some people spitting at little girls, calling girls zonot (prostitutes), physically attacking other people and throwing stones at them is disconcerting to say the least.
When we accidentally drop a siddur (prayer book) or a sefer (holy book), we kiss the sefer. Does the siddur or sefer feel anything? Clearly the act of kissing the siddur is meant to inculcate within us a sensitivity that should translate into the respect we need to show to another human being.
If we are concerned about an inanimate object that has no feelings, how could we possibly disrespect another person created in God’s holy image?
The Mishnah Berurah writes (549:1) that those people who fast on a fast day but do not spend their time contemplating their behavior and doing teshuva (repentance) are seizing the unimportant and neglecting the main lesson. God does not look at our outside appearance but examines our behavior (regarding the people of Nineveh it is written in the Book of Jonah, “And God saw their deeds” — not their sackcloth and their fasting).
How could a God-fearing person spit at a little girl, call a Jewish woman a harlot, attack and throw stones at another Jew or call Jewish policemen Nazis? We are all created in God’s image. Deracheha darchei no’am — the ways of the Torah are pleasant.
Some of us need to relearn that lesson.