The Bundle of Thirteen Arrows
We Are Unbreakable
Rabbi Marc Gellman
The Talmud and the African tribe, the Masai tribe, both teach a wisdom for our wounded world. They both taught:
Sticks alone can be broken by a child, but sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.
The fears and sorrows of this moment are so heavy, they can break us if we try to bear them alone. But if we are bundled together if we stick together we are unbreakable.
And we shall do far more than merely survive. We shall overcome. We shall overcome the forces of hatred, without allowing hatred to unbundle us. We shall overcome the forces of terror, without using fear to unbundle us.
So in all our comings and our goings, from this time forth, let us remember: That the person next to you, in front of you, behind you, is not merely an obstacle to your free and unfettered life. They are a part of this bundle, that keeps you and each of us from breaking.
Let us never again view our fellow New Yorkers, our fellow Americans, our fellow citizens of the world, as limitations on our life or freedom. But rather as the moral twine that binds us, and saves us, and delivers us from evil.
A bundle of arrows was also an emblem on early paper money.
"After much occasion to consider the folly and mischiefs of a state of warfare, and the little or no advantage obtained even by those nations who have conducted it with the most success, I have been apt to think that there has never been, or ever will be, any such thing as a good war, or a bad peace." Benjamin Franklin to Jonathan Shipley, June 10, 1782
The Eagle and the Arrow An Aesop's Fable
Moral: We often give our enemies the means for our own destruction.
For an eloquent expression of the Great Seal's war and peace symbolism,
read President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize lecture.
Historical content is based on the official history of the Great Seal.
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Copyright ©2013 by John D. MacArthur.