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Sunday, January 01, 2012

Pushing Ahdut in Am Yisrael

We are currently between the 2 weeks of the year where Ahdut is stressed the most.  The Haftara of Vayigash is the quintessential Ahdut Haftara and it's one of my favorites.
טז  וְאַתָּה בֶן-אָדָם, קַח-לְךָ עֵץ אֶחָד, וּכְתֹב עָלָיו לִיהוּדָה, וְלִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרָו; וּלְקַח, עֵץ אֶחָד, וּכְתוֹב עָלָיו לְיוֹסֵף עֵץ אֶפְרַיִם, וְכָל-בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרָו.16 'And thou, son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it: For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions; then take another stick, and write upon it: For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and of all the house of Israel his companions;
יז  וְקָרַב אֹתָם אֶחָד אֶל-אֶחָד, לְךָ--לְעֵץ אֶחָד; וְהָיוּ לַאֲחָדִים, בְּיָדֶךָ.17 and join them for thee one to another into one stick, that they may become one in thy hand.
and then,
יט  דַּבֵּר אֲלֵהֶם, כֹּה-אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה, הִנֵּה אֲנִי לֹקֵחַ אֶת-עֵץ יוֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר בְּיַד-אֶפְרַיִם, וְשִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבֵרָו; וְנָתַתִּי אוֹתָם עָלָיו אֶת-עֵץ יְהוּדָה, וַעֲשִׂיתִם לְעֵץ אֶחָד, וְהָיוּ אֶחָד, בְּיָדִי.19 say into them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them unto him together with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand.
followed by
כב  וְעָשִׂיתִי אֹתָם לְגוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ, בְּהָרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וּמֶלֶךְ אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לְכֻלָּם, לְמֶלֶךְ; וְלֹא יהיה- (יִהְיוּ-) עוֹד לִשְׁנֵי גוֹיִם, וְלֹא יֵחָצוּ עוֹד לִשְׁתֵּי מַמְלָכוֹת עוֹד.22 and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all;
which is followed by
כד  וְעַבְדִּי דָוִד מֶלֶךְ עֲלֵיהֶם, וְרוֹעֶה אֶחָד יִהְיֶה לְכֻלָּם; וּבְמִשְׁפָּטַי יֵלֵכוּ, וְחֻקּוֹתַי יִשְׁמְרוּ וְעָשׂוּ אוֹתָם.24 And My servant David shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in Mine ordinances, and observe My statutes, and do them.
Then, in Parshat Vayehi, we have the famous explanation on this verse:
א  וַיִּקְרָא יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-בָּנָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר, הֵאָסְפוּ וְאַגִּידָה לָכֶם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִקְרָא אֶתְכֶם, בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים.1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: 'Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the end of days.
that tells us that in order to achieve Redemption, we need to first gather together and be united with each other.

I've blogged about Ahdut many times before, but it seems that at this moment, Bedavka within the 2 Parshiyot of Vayigash and Vayehi, the 2 Parshiyot where Ahdut is stressed the most, division in Kelal Yisrael seems the highest I have ever seen it.  Perhaps even more than during the Emanuel situation last year.

And it runs in many directions.
  • Certain segments of the Haredi population are spitting at girls not dressed according to their standards
  • Certain segments of the Haredi population use Holocaust imagery to depict their situation, despite knowing how insensitive it is
  • Certain segments of the Hiloni population write "Death to Haredim" on walls
  • Certain segments of the Hiloni population have been harassing Haredim, according to Kikar's hotline
  • Certain commenters/talkbalkers on various websites, from all streams of Judaism, have been using over-the-top language in condemning the Haredim in Beit Shemesh and Meah She'arim, in ways which most sane people would condemn Osama and Ahmedinejad.
These acts have got to stop.  Now.

Instead, we need to bring those who don't follow the Torah closer.  We need to make Baalei Teshuva out of Hilonim, and unfortunately, we also need to make Baalei Teshuva out of some Haredim.  And we need to do it with Darchei Noam - not with embarrassing the other, Has Veshalom.

Listen to 2 great speeches given in the past couple days by Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a and Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman Shlit"a.

Rav Ovadia's speech can be heard here and VIN has a summary:
Israel - Speaking out tonight on recent events in Israel, particularly in Beit Shemesh, R’ Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party, made it clear that the Torah expects all Jews to love each other irrespective of their levels of observance.

“The ways of the Torah are pleasant and peaceful and loving your neighbor is equivalent to the entire Torah,” said R’ Yosef. “We are one people, sons of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and those who attempt to cause strife between chareidim and those who are not chareidem are causing a great chilul Hashem.”

R’ Yosef called upon the media to do its part to encourage unity between all Jews and to avoid doing anything that would create a rift between different religious groups and expressed his hope that the entire nation could come together saying, “when the nation of Israel is united, there is no one in the world who can have power over them.”
Rav Grossman's speech can be heard here.  Notable is how he talked to a woman that was not dressed modestly at all in a Haredi neighborhood.  He went over to her and told her, "I promise you that if you start dressing more modestly, I will pray for you and bless you."  She told him, "Rabbi, I am now going to run home and change clothes.  I promise you that you were the first person to speak to me in this [pleasant] manner."

What we need right now is an infusion of Ahavat Hinam to counteract the Sinat Hinam going around lately.  May this post be the catalyst for that effort so that we can gather together in Ahdut to bring the long-awaited Final Redemption, Bimhera Veyameinu, Amen.


At Sun Jan 01, 05:32:00 AM 2012, Blogger Neshama said...

YOU are right on the button and never disappoint in your timing on hot topics. This is what i posted along the same lines:

First Change Yourself and A Open Letter

At Sun Jan 01, 08:54:00 AM 2012, Blogger Daniela said...

Someone else's thoughts

At Sun Jan 01, 10:19:00 AM 2012, Blogger Cosmic X said...

Well said Yaak. The aim for all those who truly desire redemption is to do everything they can to push ahdut.

At Sun Jan 01, 10:41:00 AM 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"division in Kelal Yisrael seems the highest I have ever seen it."

Unfortunately this is reflected on the macro and micro level. In my tiny Modern Orthodox shul in galut, we are currently without a rabbi. There is a huge struggle to keep this shul religiously conservative against a drive to hire a YCT - Orthodox-in-name only rabbi. An "activist" rabbi who supports J Street and NIF, who signed a petition against the rabbis in Israel who said not to sell homes to Arabs(as a "civil rights" violation) G-d help us!

At Sun Jan 01, 01:06:00 PM 2012, Anonymous smb said...

We need to reverse the negative situation into a positive one so people see the other side. Lets show people how much Ahavas Yisrael we have, be careful with middos, and say and do positive acts. With this, we will show the beauty of Torah and also gain unity, Bezrat Hashem

At Sun Jan 01, 01:14:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lets learn from amalak and san francicscos liberal gays there united !

At Tue Jan 03, 11:38:00 AM 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So my comment of last week was a week to early?
never mind, but nice to know
i saw it right though
bless ye and yours
Vav yud nem

At Wed Jan 04, 04:57:00 PM 2012, Anonymous s said...

This video says it well also

At Wed Jan 04, 04:59:00 PM 2012, Anonymous smb said...

The video Shalom Aleichem by kinderlach and Idan Yaniv says it well also


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