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    The long & the short & the tall

    bless em all“Bless ‘em all, bless ‘em all, the long and the short and the tall” – a song that everyone in wartime England sang with great pride in the defenders of the Mother Country and its Empire.

    I wouldn’t have wanted to spoil it for the much-tried people of England, but their song had a Jewish precedent dating back to the Bible.

    Jews recited a b’rachah and sang praises of the Creator who ordained a Sukkot assemblage of plants (the lulav, the etrog, the hadassim and the aravot) which in their own way were the long, the short and the tall.

    The midrashic sages invested the moment with a beautiful lesson about human unity.

    If the shorties were shunned there would be no community. If the tall were ethnically cleansed there would also be no community.

    None of this modern tendency to downgrade, dehumanise or delegitimise other people or other groups in society.

    So what if someone is taller than me? If you have a problem with tall people, the rabbinic teachers used to say, go and complain to God who made them that way.

    If you have a problem with short people or you use phrases like the “small man syndrome”, take it up with God.

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