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Four Questions To Heal The Pain


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Instead, the rav sat down inside the ice cream store and kept silent. He tried to identify with the difficult challenge the owner faced. When the owner eventually came to the him and inquired why he was sitting there in Shabbos garb so close to sunset, Rav Levin simply said, “You are certainly facing a great trial and temptation. Nevertheless,

Shabbos is Shabbos.”

The owner did shut down his store before Shabbos and later told Rav Levin, “I realized that you knew and felt just what I was thinking and feeling, and yet you felt pain for the sake of Shabbos. Then I thought in my heart: A Jew like that must not be made to suffer pain.”

One can only wonder how free we could be if we were able to respond with such sensitivity to others. If so, our response to this set of four questions could lead us to a promised land of genuine unity amongst the Jewish people.

Gary Tolchinsky works at a consulting firm in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he studied mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is on the Advisory Board of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and is founder of the website jewishbooksforpeace.org. He can be reached at gary1325@aol.com

About the Author: Gary Tolchinsky works at a consulting firm in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he studied mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He is on the Advisory Board of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry and is founder of the website jewishbooksforpeace.org. He can be reached at gary1325@aol.com


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As we begin the New Year it is with a sense of hope that we can avoid the painful arguments, hurtful remarks and misunderstandings which have harmed our relationships in the past. We seek to make amends with friends and family over the High Holidays and resolve that things will be different in the future. But moving forward, we may also wonder if we can really change patterns of relating that have been perpetuated for years or decades.

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