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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Shemoneh Esrei’

The Maccabees’ Response To ‘World Opinion’

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

“Israel has bad public relations.”

This is the perennial cry. “Israel must improve its image to convince the world of the justness of its cause.”

As I write, a cease-fire is holding around Gaza, but let’s consider the whole story. In the past few weeks, hundreds of rockets rained down on millions of Israelis. I was there. My wife and I heard the sirens in Yerushalayim. We entered the shelter and waited for the explosions. Lives of millions in Israel became torture and a nightmare.

Israel reacted with surgical strikes against known terrorist leaders. The air force dropped thousands of leaflets and even took over Arab television, warning Gazans to keep away from military sites that, as we know, are planted intentionally in the middle of heavily populated civilian areas. Israel also mounted an expensive, brilliant defensive system called Iron Dome that knocked out hundreds of incoming missiles.

What was the result?

Granted, Israel received support from some Western governments. At the same time, the secular media lamented the pathos of the “tragic deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza.” In midtown Manhattan, a man with a yarmulke was called “dirty Jew” as he walked past an anti-Israel demonstration.

It is a very old story. Consider (Rashi on Bereishis 21:9 and Bereishis Rabbah 53:11 with ArtScroll commentary):

“Sarah saw [Yishmael], the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Avraham, mocking,” on which Rashi says, “[mocking] connotes…murder…. [Yishmael is associated with murder] because he would contend with Yitzchak over the inheritance and say, ‘I am [my father’s] firstborn son, and [am entitled to] take a double share [of the inheritance].’ They would go out into the field, and [Yishmael] would take his bow and shoot arrows at [Yitzchak]…like one who tires himself shooting fireballs and says ‘Am I not merely jesting….’ ”

Yishmael is still playing the game some 3,700 years later, sending “fireballs” and “arrows” at Yitzchak, this time from Gaza, and the game is still murder. Rocks and firebombs are also thrown at drivers near other Arab areas. Deadly missiles fall like poison rain. And those who shoot these fireballs and throw these rocks are termed “innocent civilians.”

“Why,” they ask, “is Israel massing war equipment on the border of Gaza? Why is Yitzchak so upset? Are we not brothers? Yitzchak always overreacts to our little games. Why is he so sensitive?”

And the world sheds tears for the “innocent civilians” in Gaza who are being subjected to such “suffering.”

* * * * *

Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, zt”l, legendary mashgiach of the Mirrer Yeshiva, stated (as quoted in the book Redemption Unfolding): “In the final war before the coming of Mashiach, all the Jews who fear Hashem will survive. Hashem will say to them: ‘All those who are removed from the secular, worldly culture, you are Mine….’ ”

It is easy to be carried along by the powerful societal currents that have enveloped us since the beginning of our Exile almost two thousand years ago. I too am a victim of this weakness. I too worry about what “world opinion” says about Israel. It is in fact difficult to imagine how Israel would survive without support from the rest of the world. We tell ourselves, “We need all the friends we can get.”

But are we correct?

No, we most certainly are not.

“Return, O Israel, to Hashem your God, for you have stumbled through your iniquity. Take words with you and return to Hashem. Say to Him, ‘Forgive every sin and accept goodness and let our lips substitute for bulls. Assyria cannot help us; we will not ride the horse nor will we ever again call our handiwork our god. Only in You will the orphan find compassion’ ” (Hoshea 14:2-4; haftara Parshas Vayeitzei). Or hear the words of King David: “It is better to take refuge in Hashem than to rely on man. It is better to take refuge in Hashem than to rely on nobles…” (Tehillim 118) We lean on a broken reed when we rely on the other nations, even when billions of people are on the “other side.”

Avraham Avinu’s name comes from the word “ivri” because he stood on one “eiver,” one bank of the river, with the entire rest of the world on the other side. This has characterized his children to this day. We are a nation apart – “a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations” (Bamidbar 23:9).

Shabbat Chevron: On The Deepest Level

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

On the Shabbat when we read the portion of Chayei Sarah, Chevron residents are joined by thousands of people from all over Israel and around the world in celebrating Father Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah and its surrounding fields as a burial place for Sarah Imeinu.

This year, with rain and strong winds in the forecast, there were slightly fewer people than last year, but still the crowd was massive and it was beautiful to dance with thousands of fellow Jews. Everywhere the eye could see there were tents and families, girls and boys, young and old. And Hashem rewarded us by withholding the inclement weather until the end of the dramatic day.

At this point I’d like to give a shout out to the police and soldiers who did such a fine job ensuring our security. And to the Magen David Adom attendants who were on hand in giant tents and were able to be part of the magnificent celebration, as the peace and serenity of this special Shabbat was felt by all.

I’d like to share with you some points about Chevron that hopefully will encourage more people to join us from all over America for Shabbat Chevron next year and the years to follow.

First, the fact is that our holy forefathers – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – chose Chevron over Yerushalayim. Of course, most people who visit Israel make Yerushalyim and the Kotel the major point of their visit, and people making aliyah dream of living in Yerushalayim.

So why did the Avos choose Chevron? Obviously the Meoras HaMachpela, the cave where our forefathers are buried was already special in Abraham’s days, for Abraham knew that Adam and Eve were buried there.

The Midrash in Vayeira tells us that Abraham, wanting to make a meal for the three malachim who came to visit him, chased an animal in order to slaughter it. When the animal ran into the cave, Abraham discovered that the first man and woman created by Hashem were buried there.

And since Abraham understood that the purpose of creation was for the sake of Am Yisrael receiving the Torah, he knew the cave of Machpelah would be the proper and natural burial place for all the forefathers.

The name “Chevron” itself is very significant to the oneness of our nation. It comes from the root word chebur, which means “connected.”

Somehow, by our coming to Chevron on this special Shabbat, we feel this connection with all our ancestors going back to Father Abraham.

And here is why: in the Shemoneh Esrei amidah, which we pray three times daily, we chant “U’mekayem emunaso l’shenei afar,” meaning that God will keep his promise to those who “sleep” in the dust (the assurance that the land is ours and that the dead will one day rise).

The Avos are actually referred to as “the sleepers in the dust of Chevron.” And what about my father and my grandfather and my grandfather’s father, all the way back in time? They too are the sheinei afar, those who sleep in the dust until the resurrection.

Now add to this the objective of every Jew in his service to God, which is to reach the level of “lowliness of spirit,” just as our father Abraham declared, “I am dust and ashes.”

And we end our three daily amidah prayers by begging heavenly assistance in our quest that “nafshe k’afar la’kol teheyeah” – my soul shall be like “dust” in all of life’s situations.

As I prayed the Minchah amidah prayer in the holy cave of our ancestors, it dawned on me that this Shabbat Chevron is the only day that all three Avos are alive and speaking from the scriptures. Abraham and Isaac speak in the morning Torah reading and Isaac and Jacob in the Minchah Torah reading. It’s the only Shabbat that all three of them, at once, are with us through the scriptural readings of the day!

And in the short Minchah amidah prayer we are actually praying to feel our oneness with our three forefathers.

May we all merit to reach the level of being One Nation in the merit of our forefathers, whose teachings bring us to be one with them.

Z’man Simchasenu – The Time of Our Happiness

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Sukkos! What an exciting Yom Tov! So many different mitzvos, each with their own color and flavor. Dwelling in the sukkah, taking the 4 species, dancing at the simchas beis hashuava and on Simchas Torah … Nevertheless, there is one theme which runs through all these aspects. “Vesamachta bechagecha atah uvincha, uvitecha, ve’avdecha, va’amasecha, vehaLevi, vehager, vehayasom. veha’almanah asher bish’areycha – You shall rejoice on your festival along with your son and daughter, your male and female slave, and the Levite, proselyte, orphan and widow from your settlements” (Devorim 16:14). This extensive list makes it quite clear to us: Everyone should be b’simcha on Sukkos! Hence in Shemoneh Esrei we refer to Sukkos as “Z’man simchasenu – the time of our Happiness.” During every Yom Tov we must be happy, but regarding Sukkos the Torah commands us three times to be b’simcha, more so than any other Yom Tov. Why is this Yom Tov the happiest one?

Furthermore, if we are supposed to be in a state of happiness, why specifically now must we leave our comfortable, climate-controlled homes and live in a primitive hut? And why do many have a custom to read the megilla of Koheles – Ecclesiastes, on the Shabbos during Sukkos? In it, Shlomo HaMelech tells us how he had fabulous wealth and materialistic pleasures. Nevertheless, he describes it all, again and again, with one word: “Hevel – Emptiness!” Why do we read what seems to be a depressing megillah during the time of joy?

Chag Ha’asif – The Festival of Ingathering

The midrash (Yalkut Vayikra 654) reveals to us one of the reasons for the extra simcha: “and because now all the crops have been brought into the storehouses.” This can be seen from the fact that the Torah (Devorim 16:13) points out that Sukkos is “be’ospecha migornecha umiyikvecha” when we bring in from the threshing floor and wine vat. Hence, another name of Sukkos is Chag Ha’asif – The Festival of Ingathering. We can certainly imagine the great joy of the farmer as he fills his storehouses after almost a year of toil and anticipation. At this time of extreme happiness the Torah commands us to celebrate Sukkos. Why?

Human nature is to constantly look forward to the future. A young boy looks forward to his bar mitzvah, and after that toward his graduation, and after that to his wedding, and then to his first child, and so on. This is quite unfortunate, as we never enjoy what we have presently. The Torah is teaching us that before we begin the new planting season, we should look back at what we have and appreciate it. This of course is not limited to those who have farms. We all should look back at what we received over the past year and thank Hashem for it.

But this raises a different question. Since we are celebrating last year’s bounty, shouldn’t Sukkos be celebrated before the New Year starts?

Hevel

Let us return to Koheles. How is it that Shlomo HaMelech just wipes away great portions of Hashem’s creation with one word, calling them empty? If Hashem created them, obviously they have a purpose! And furthermore – if these things are all empty, why did Shlomo have them?

The Sefer Otzar Hachaim gives a beautiful explanation. We all know that “zero” has no value. However if we put a “one” next to it, it becomes significant. The more “zeros” after the “one” the greater the value is! Shlomo Hamelech is telling us that if we view materialism as a goal in itself, it is one big zero – hevel. However, if we realize that all materialism is a way to reach spirituality, it takes on a new perspective. This is why the megillah ends off: “Sof davar hakol nishma, es Elokim yira v’ies mitzvosov shimor, ki zeh kol hadam – In the end all is heard, fear Hashem and keep His mitzvos for this is the purpose of man.” This posuk teaches us the true purpose of the world – to keep Hashem’s mitzvos.

This message became clearer to us during the Yomim Hanoraim, as stated in the midrash. “L’Dovid, Hashem Ori V’yishi - Hashem is my light and salvation – Hashem is our light on Rosh Hashana and our salvation on Yom HaKippurim.” On Rosh Hashana, a great light shined, which showed us the true purpose of the world. Spirituality and closeness to Hashem is our only goal. By dwelling in the King’s presence for two days our outlook changed. And then on Yom Kippur we showed Hashem who the real “me” is and how showed regret for all of our past pursuits of worldly pleasures. He then saved us from any harsh verdict which may have been written for us.

Kavanah In Davening

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

In this week’s parshah the Torah gives us the mitzvah of tefillahdavening to Hashem – for as the pasuk says, “oso sa’avod – you shall serve Him.” The Torah repeats this mitzvah several times, with another mention further in this week’s parshah: “uleavdo bechal levavchem – serve Him with all of your heart.” The Sifri explains that one serves with his heart by means of tefillah.

The Torah did not set any time for davening or write how often one must daven. The Rambam (Hilchos Tefillah 1:2) says that min haTorah one must daven one time daily. The Ramban (commentary to the Rambam’s Sefer Hamitzvos 5) argues that mi’de’oraisa there is no set time to daven, not even once a day. Rather, the obligation to daven is mi’de’rabbanan. The Ramban adds that perhaps there is a mitzvah mi’de’oraisa to daven to Hashem when one is in an eis tzarah.

The Rambam writes in Hilchos Tefillah 4:1 that there are five things that are crucial to tefillah, and that without them the davening is invalid. One of these is kavanah. The Rambam continues (halacha 15) by saying that any tefillah that is said without kavanah is not a tefillah. If one davens without kavanah, he must repeat the davening. One is forbidden to daven until one’s mind is at ease and the person is able to concentrate.

Achronim ask a question on this ruling. The Rambam seems to indicate that one needs to have kavanah throughout the entire tefillah, and if one does not have kavanah throughout the entire tefillah the tefillah is invalid. However, the Gemara in Berachos 34 and the Rambam in Hilchos Tefillah 10:1 say that it is sufficient if one has kavanah in the first berachah alone. From the later Rambam it seems that one is only required to have kavanah in the first berachah – and not in the entire Shemoneh Esrei.

Reb Chaim Soloveitchik, in his sefer on the Rambam, explains that the Rambam is referring to two different types of kavanah. One is kavanah of the translation and explanation of the words of davening. The other is the kavanah that one must know that he is standing in front of Hashem when he is davening.

The first Rambam that indicated that one must have kavanah throughout the entire tefillah is referring to the kavanah that one must know that he is standing before Hashem when he is davening. If one is not conscious about this throughout one’s davening of Shemoneh Esrei, his tefillah is invalid.

The Gemara in Berachos 34 and the second Rambam, that say that – bedi’eved – it is sufficient if one only has kavanah in the first berachah of Shemoneh Esrei, are referring to understanding the explanation of the words one is saying in davening. It is sufficient if one only understands the words of the first berachah. However, one must have kavanah that he is standing before Hashem when he is davening throughout the entire Shemoneh Esrei.

Reb Chaim explains that the first kavanah of knowing that one is standing before Hashem when davening is required for two reasons, and that both reasons are responsible for applying this kavanah to the entire Shemoneh Esrei. One reason is so that one is not considered mesasek (if one does not have kavanah, it is as if he is doing something else). The second reason is because of the general rule that mitzvos require kavanah. This general rule obligates one to have kavanah throughout the entire mitzvah, for it is not sufficient to have kavanah during only part of the mitzvah. But the kavanah of understanding the explanation of the words that one is saying is a specific kavanah that only applies to the mitzvah of davening. Therefore the Gemara can say that it only applies to part of the mitzvah, namely the first berachah.

Reb Chaim also points out that the Rambam only says that the tefillah is invalid and that one is forbidden to daven until his mind is at ease and he is able to have kavanah as it regards the kavanah of knowing that one is standing before Hashem. Regarding the second kavanah (knowing the explanation of the words), the Rambam does not use the same words. He only says that if one davens without this kavanah he must repeat the Shemoneh Esrei. It seems that there is a difference between the two kavanos. If one does not know that he is standing before Hashem when davening, the tefillah is not a tefillah. However, if one does not know the translation of what he is saying in the first berachah, the tefillah is still a tefillah; one has simply not fulfilled his obligation with that tefillah.

Renewing The Face Of The Earth

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

I sleep every Tisha B’Av night on a narrow cushion in front of the Me’aras HaMachpelah in Hebron. I do this because the following chiddush came to me many years ago: When the spies went to Israel, the pasuk says “vayavo ad Chevron” – “and he came until Hebron.” He instead of they. Rashi says only Calev ben Yefuneh went to Hebron, to pray to Avraham Avinu that he not fall for the plan of the spies.

The spies gave their horrible report on Tisha B’Av night, and this night became a night of crying through the ages. So I said, “Hebron and Me’aras HaMachpelah is where I’m going sleep to remember the power of the prayer of Calev.”

And as I traveled to Hebron, how could I not stop at the tomb of Rachel Imeinu? It’s right on the way.

The Tenth of Av is my birthday, and this year as I walked from my car to Rachel’s Tomb I found myself singing, “Unhappy birthday to you, unhappy birthday to you, Dov Shurin!” – since on my birthday we are all crying for Mashiach.

Once I was in the tomb I took a Tehillim and beg David HaMelech to direct me to a verse that would consol me on my “unhappy” birthday. With my eyes closed, I asked that my finger open to a special page. I opened the book, my eyes still closed, and I asked, “Which page, right side or the left?” I imagined I was told the left. Then I ran my finger down the page until I sensed I should stop.

I opened my eyes and I was on the verse in Psalm 104 that reads “You send forth your spirit and they are created, renewing the face of the earth.” What a birthday present from above! It’s all about one’s birthday, about renewal. The verse before this is about death, and this verse is birth. I thought about the Torah giant we just lost, Rav Elyashiv, zt”l, and how Hashem certainly is renewing the earth with new tzaddikim; in fact, we’re told that Tisha B’Av is when Mashiach will be born.

Then I went to Hebron and stayed until Minchah time. At first it was difficult for me to deal with the Nachem prayer we say only on Tisha B’Av in the middle of the Vel’Yirushalayim Ircha blessing in the Shemoneh Esrei. The verses read: “Console the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem …. the city is destroyed, disgraced and empty.”

That’s not the case today, with close to two hundred thousand Jews living here, and we even have our light railroad. It just seemed to me the Nachem tefillah should be updated.

I did notice the Nachem prayer distinguishes between Zion and Jerusalem. So I decided to consult the amazing sefer of the Malbim, HaCarmel, which discusses relevant words and concepts. I turned to where he writes about Zion and Jerusalem. He notes that Metzudas Tzion was the city of David, which was occupied by children of kings, important personalities and Torah scholars, and the rest of Jerusalem is where the simple multitudes lived.

So Zion was what we refer to today as East Jerusalem. In my previous column I wrote about a police officer who was stabbed to death years ago by an Arab who came up from Silwan, which is Zion, which was the city of David and is called exactly that by those Jews who have settled there. So unfortunately the words of the Nachem prayer are in fact relevant today regarding East Jerusalem and its status in the eyes of the international community.

On Tisha B’Av Mitt Romney became the latest presidential candidate to promise to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, may it really happen this time. The Israeli government needs to make it clear that Jerusalem, and especially Zion, the city of David, is not for sale, period. Until then, the Nachem prayer remains true to its text.

May our Charming Nation see the consolation of Zion, the final Godly building of Yerushalayim, and the renewal of the face of the earth with the coming of Mashiach quickly in our day, amen.

Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums of original composition. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at dovshurin@yahoo.com. His column appears in The Jewish Press every other week.

May One Finish Davening After The Z’man?

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

In this week’s parshah Balak hires Bilam to curse the Jews. The Gemaras in Berachos 7a and Avodah Zarah 4a say that there is a very brief moment during each day when Hashem allows himself to get angry. The Gemara says that no one was ever able to exact that moment except for Bilam the rasha, as it says: “veyode’a das elyon – and he knew Hashem’s knowledge.” The Gemara explains that this pasuk teaches us that Bilam knew this moment because we cannot explain that he knew Hashem’s knowledge, when he didn’t even know his animal’s knowledge; rather, it teaches us that he knew this moment. The Gemara then quotes from the Navi Micha, explaining that Hashem did so many tzedakos for us during Bilam’s lifetime, as He did not get angry even for that moment each day. Had Hashem gotten angry, Bilam would have been able to curse the Jews.

Tosafos asks how Bilam could have cursed the Jews in such a short span of time. What could he have said? Tosafos gives two answers: 1) He could have said the word “kaleim (destroy them)”; and 2) It was only necessary, Tosafos says in the name of Rabbi Eliyahu, for Bilam to start his curse during the brief moment, and it would in effect be as if the whole curse was said at the appropriate time. He says that based on the length of the pasukim, we can see that Bilam intended to give a lengthy curse (which Hashem turned into a berachah). Therefore, he asserts, it would suffice to merely start his curse during the moment of Hashem’s anger and continue cursing even after the moment has passed.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 110) says that in a pressing situation, e.g. a traveler who feels that he will be disturbed and thus cannot daven a full Shemoneh Esrei, the traveler may daven a shortened version. This consists of the first three berachos, followed by a berachah called havi’neinu (which comprises all of the middle berachos of Shemoneh Esrei), and concludes with the last three berachos. The Magen Avraham adds that another situation when one may daven this shortened version of Shemoneh Esrei is when the time to daven that particular tefillah is about to pass and he feels that he will not be able to complete the davening of a regular Shemoneh Esrei before time runs out.

The Aruch HaShulchan questions this opinion from the abovementioned Tosafos: It seems from the Magen Avraham that if one starts to daven during its proper time and finishes after the allotted time, his tefillah is not good. However, Tosafos (Berachos and Avodah Zarah) says that Bilam could have started his curse during the proper time and finished afterwards, making it effective. So the Aruch HaShulchan says that the same should hold true for tefillah, and one should be able to start his tefillah during the allotted time and continue to daven thereafter.

The Aruch HaShulchan, however, is very difficult to understand. How can he compare the allotted time to daven to that of the moment when Hashem gets angry as Bilam intends to curse the Jews? If one davens after the allotted time, he is not yotzei the davening. But regarding Bilam’s cursing of the Jews, there is nothing lacking if he curses after Hashem is no longer angry. It is only that he wanted the curse to be more effective, and therefore wanted to curse them while Hashem was still angry. For this, Tosafos says that it is effective if Bilam merely starts in the proper time. The entire curse, even the part after the time when Hashem is no longer angry, is all the more effective. Nonetheless, davening after the z’man is a problem as per the actual davening. So how does it help to only start the davening in the proper time?

Perhaps the p’shat in the Aruch HaShulchan is that he understands that z’man tefillah is not a time when one must daven after which the tefillah is disqualified, but rather a time when one’s tefillah will be most accepted. That is why the rabbanan established those times to daven. Therefore it is comparable to what Tosafos says regarding Bilam. Since in both scenarios the proper time for each one is only a better time for the tefillah/curse to be accepted, if one merely starts in the proper time the entire tefillah/curse will be accepted – as if it was all said in the proper time.

Getting Back Together

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

We all know we have to take the Three Weeks seriously. But at the same time we all just want the time between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av to pass already.

Each year seems more worrisome; this year is no exception. Every day brings new evidence that the world situation is deteriorating, with tzouris on every level. Of course, Israel is becoming more and more isolated. The rockets fall, and no one cares except us.

What exactly should we focus on during this sober time of year?

We all know that sinas chinam, gratuitous hatred between Jew and Jew, caused the destruction of the Second Temple. We all know it, but clearly we are having trouble incorporating it into our lives. The knowledge is not going to help us unless it becomes an imperative whose urgency is driven by our desire for a real solution to our problems.

We’ve all become somewhat depressed, affected by the cynicism we learn from the surrounding society, which is content to try to enjoy itself as the world spins out of control. How many people really believe the world can ever be transformed into a peaceful planet on which the Children of Israel can live in our Holy Land, “each man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none will make them afraid” (Micah 4:4)?

Let’s try to understand how we can really make this happen. If we took this seriously, we could well be rejoicing soon in the new Beis HaMikdash. Since we are not there yet, we obviously need to hear it again.

Here is the source:

“[At the time of] the Second Temple, [we know] that the people occupied themselves with Torah, mitzvos and acts of kindness. Why was it destroyed? Because of the gratuitous hatred that existed there. This teaches you that gratuitous hatred is tantamount to the three sins of idolatry, immorality and bloodshed [put together]” (Yoma 9b).

I know of instances in which Jews try to hurt each other and do hurt each other. This is crazy, of course.

People are not using their brains. Maybe it is because so many of us are lost somewhere inside our smart phones or computers. If we would think, we would not act this way, because this behavior is suicide.

All our tzouris stems from the fact that we have no Beis HaMikdash.

“Because of our sins, we have been exiled from our land and sent far from our soil. We cannot ascend to appear…before You…in the…great and holy House upon which Your Name was proclaimed…” (Yom Tov Mussaf). When we will return to our land in teshuvah, Hashem will “command rain for your land in its proper time, the early and later rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. I will provide grass in your field for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied” (Shema prayer/Devarim11:14).

* * * * *

I am going to suggest a few ideas.

There are things we can do.

We have to become closer.

We are one family.

My wife and I recently conducted several programs in the beautiful Syrian community of Mexico City. Before going, we wondered how we would be able to relate. After all, we are Ashkenazim from New York. It’s a different world, right?

Wrong!

It is unbelievable how close we all are. In fact, we learned that our granddaughter from Israel was best friends with the daughter of our host in Mexico. They had met at camp in the Catskills. Do you understand? It’s 7,732 miles from Israel to Mexico, and they met at a camp in between.

Mashiach is almost here. We are all about to unite as “one man with one heart.” Let’s get serious. It makes me insane when I see not only how cruel we can be to each other but how we often just distance ourselves. Would you pass your brother on the street and not greet him? Would you stare in the other direction as if he didn’t exist? If we all would try to modify our actions, then perhaps one – even unnoticed or invisible – act of chesed could tip the scale and bring Mashiach.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/getting-back-together/2012/07/04/

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