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I remember fondly when you told me about how happy you were when you found solace and peace in the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov; how happy you were with his love of each and every Jew and how he accepted all Jews no matter who they were and what their standing was.

You told me how he started a movement wherein each and every precious Jew could be counted and loved, irrespective of how learned he was or how he dressed.

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You told me Hashem looks into the heart of every Jew and forgives his or her lapses.

However, that was before you sent me the picture of you and Yossele.

That was before I saw my nephew forced to pose with his hands held upright in ridicule of that which is pure and pristine.

You told me about love and now I see hate.

You told about compassion and now I see cruelty.

You told about sanctity and now I see sacrilege.

Yankel, I know you are my brother, but I must ask: Who are you?

Often I can no longer recognize you.

With all my love,

Your brother who loves and misses you.

Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman is rav of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, New Jersey. His new book, “The Elephant in the Room,” is available either directly from the author (mail check for $24.99 – cost includes shipping – to Rabbi Eisenman at Congregation Ahavas Israel, 181 Van Houton Ave., Passiac, N.J. 07055) or at Amazon.com.

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Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman is rav of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, New Jersey. His book, “The Elephant in the Room,” is available either directly from the author or at Amazon.com
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