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{Originally posted to Rabbi Weinberg’s website, The Foundation Stone}

But how will it happen? “Let all become a united society to do Your will wholeheartedly.” “Iniquity will close its mouth, and all wickedness will evaporate like smoke when You remove evil’s domination from the earth.” How do we imagine it all happening?


I was preoccupied by another line in our High Holiday prayers, when I saw something that offered perspective. We add, “Who is like You, Merciful Father, Who recalls His creations mercifully for life,” to the second blessing of the Rosh Hashanah prayer, immediately following, “Who is like You, O Master of mighty deeds, and who is comparable to You, O King Who causes death and restores life and makes salvation sprout.” I understand how we can say, “Who is like You,” when describing the Master of mighty deeds, Who restores life,” but fail to understand how we can say, “Who is like You Merciful Father,” when, hopefully, all parents recall their children mercifully!

While I was pondering this strange addition, I saw a double amputee lose control of his wheelchair and knock over a blind elderly woman. “Oh! I’m so sorry,” he said, as we helped her stand up. She faced him, tore her sandwich in half, and said, “Are you hungry? It’s peanut butter, and it’s all I have to share.” Listening to her offer, her incredibly compassionate response, I understood that I was mistranslating the sentence that was bothering me. The correct reading is, “Who is like You, Who will use His might and power of life and salvation, to grant us Lives of Compassion!”

When we understand that the greatest expression of God’s might is God’s compassion, we open ourselves to receive the gift of Lives of Compassion.

Once we have been granted Lives of Compassion; compassion for others, compassion for ourselves, we can become a society united in compassion, and wickedness will evaporate.

What do I ask, even expect, from the Master of mighty deeds? That He will use His great might to grant each of us, all of us, Lives of Compassion. The rest will follow.

Shana Tova!