What We Can Learn from Sean Penn
There were not many actors in Hollywood that I had despised more than Sean Penn. (Maybe the 2 main stars of Lethal Weapon would top the list.) This son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother was always on the wrong side of the argument and I couldn't find anything with which I agreed with him.
Until this year.
Haza"l say יש קונה עולמו בשעה אחת - there are those who acquire their world-to-come in one moment.
Sean has been at the forefront of helping Yanky Ostreicher regain his freedom from the prisons of repressive Bolivia. And for that, we must give him credit where credit is due. And the recently released-to-house-arrest Ostreicher has praised him too.
From the Miami Herald:
"This never would have happened, never in a million years ... without the help of Sean Penn. What an incredible humanitarian," Ostreicher said. He said that after Penn met the president, "everything changed from that day on."We learn in Parshat Vayechi that after Yosef died, the brothers begged forgiveness from him. Yosef replied:
Sean Penn being buddy-buddy with Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales was, in our limited minds, thought to be a bad thing. However, Hashem meant it for good to bring about a salvation. May the salvation be completed soon.וְאַתֶּם, חֲשַׁבְתֶּם עָלַי רָעָה; אֱלֹהִים, חֲשָׁבָהּ לְטֹבָה, לְמַעַן עֲשֹׂה כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, לְהַחֲיֹת עַם-רָבAnd as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Meanwhile, there are other Jews who are languishing in the prison system of the United States of America because the justice system failed them and get no interference from the country's president. Jonathan Pollard and Shalom Rubashkin, whose sentences are way beyond-the-pale in length, should be going home to their families, but alas, cannot.
Is there no one close to President Obama that can convince him of the injustice here? He got 78% of the Jewish vote the first time and not much less the second time around! He must have some Jewish friends in high places, so is there no one that can speak up for these prisoners who were railroaded to jail for lengthy sentences? We have got to do a better job here.
We need to learn how Sean Penn got things done through his activism, and follow his example in this area. איזהו חכם? הלומד מכל אדם (Who is wise? He who learns from all men) - it says in Pirkei Avot. "Kol Adam", believe it or not, even includes Sean Penn.
May all unjustly sentenced Jewish prisoners be freed speedily וּפְדוּיֵי יְהוָה יְשׁוּבוּן, וּבָאוּ צִיּוֹן בְּרִנָּה.