This story is an adaptation of Elie Wiesel’s wonderful work.
The Just Woman
In ancient times, there lived a woman who cared greatly about how her people lived together. She found ways to draw out the best in others, even in difficult circumstances. Through her own actions, she modelled a way of life that was generous, forgiving, and just.
One day she hears of a distant city called Gomorrah. She’s told that in this city, the people cheat each other, use each other, and kill each other. Determined that people needn’t live this way, she departs from her own community and heads for Gomorrah.
After a long journey, she walks the streets of the city, discovering that the reports were true. Passing through the market, she sees merchants leaning on their scales, changing values. On a side street, she witnesses women and men being bought and sold as prostitutes and slaves. Down an alley, she overhears a circle of people talking about the cry for help during the night that no-one dared answer.
Having heard and seen enough, the next morning she rises early and finds the busiest crossroads of the city. When the streets begin to fill, she calls out to those around her. She tells them that she has seen the dishonesty, the cruelty, and the violence; and that there is another path. She offers what she knows of living in a way that is generous, forgiving, and most of all, just.
She paints the vision so clearly that people stop in their tracks and listen. Each morning she takes her place and the crowds around her grow. Soon, hundreds gather to hear about this different path, returning day after day.
Until they don’t.
After a few weeks, the crowds begin to dwindle. A month later, even the most faithful pass by without stopping. Her voice garners no more attention than any other on the street. Yet, each morning the woman rises and finds her way to the street corner. She calls out, reminding the people that there is another path.
All this time, a young boy has watched the woman. He saw her take the corner on the first morning. He followed her progress as the crowds grew and then faltered.
This day, he waits by the corner. When she arrives, he approaches her and they exchange greetings. Eventually the young boy says, “It’s not working. The crowds are gone and nothing’s changed. Why do you still come to this corner every day?”
The woman looks at the boy and replies, “What good questions you ask. You are right, when I first came to Gomorrah, I thought I could change this place. Clearly, I can’t.”
The boy presses, “Then why are you here?”
She nods her head and takes in a deep breath, “If I can’t change Gomorrah, then I must continue to speak so that Gomorrah doesn’t change me.”