Summer is here, B”H!! And soon Israelis will be on the move for vacations all over the country. We’re heading to the green hills of the Galil, to the trails of the Golan, to the beaches of the coast. Some hardy folks are even off to the south to dive among the corals or hike among the craters. Wherever you go - enjoy. Be safe. Make great memories.
Meanwhile, Am Yisrael is preparing for Tisha B’Av. We’re not just thinking of the break fast meal, but of the spiritual reckonings we must make in order to turn Tisha B’Av from a day of mourning to a day of joy.
Phil Chernofsky, the brilliant and dedicated editor of Torah Tidbits, wrote recently that three of the reasons for our Tisha B’Av mourning (the decree on the spies in the desert, the Destruction of the First Temple, and the Destruction of the Second) were caused by three respective sins - 1) the sin of the spies and their scorning of the Land of Israel, 2) the worship of idols and other sins that showed that Am Yisrael scorned Hashem, and 3) sinat chinam (baseless hatred).
The way to right the wrongs, Phil said, was to 1) love the land, 2) increase our love and dedication to Torah and Hashem, 3) show all of our brethren ahavat chinam (unconditional love).
Especially in our day, we’ve got to show the ahavat achim (love of our brother) that was sadly lacking in the times of the Second Temple, and unfortunately that seems to be missing often nowadays, as well. We’ve got to open our arms and our hearts to all Jews, even when they are different than we are.
There are three kinds of Jews in the world today - us (whoever and whatever we are), those who are less observant (in every way - including religiously and our relationship to Israel), and those who are more. Our Judaism (whatever form it takes), is, of course, the perfect one - balanced in observance and attachment to the Land of Israel.
Connecting with Other Jews
While their lifestyles may seem too loose or too wild or empty to us, it’s not that difficult to tolerate and even reach out to those Jews whom we feel are less observant than we are. We even feel noble when we open our arms to them.
But it is sometimes difficult to accept and respect Jews who seem stricter in their observance of Jewish law. Instead of appreciating their dedication to learning, their modesty in dress and uncompromising adherence to the mitzvot, we may see them as fanatics.
Let’s skip the Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, and Jacob and Esau stories for now. Our brotherly hatred grew when Joseph’s brothers detested him so much, they couldn’t even speak with him. They broke off communication immediately. It was not until many years later that they learned (the hard way) that each tribe had its own special mission, its own talents, its own way of living life and looking at life. Finally they understood how to appreciate each other’s differences and strengths. Thousands of years later, our situation is the same. Unfortunately we still feel hatred in our hearts against some brothers. Hashem knows how hard it is to stop this jealousy, resentment, etc. because He commanded us, “Do not hate your brother in your heart.”
Every day the government, one national institution or other, or the media goads us to hate our brethren. Let’s not fall into the trap. Let us love our brothers, build a Jewish Eretz Yisrael alongside our brother, and together build the Holy Temple, IY”H.
In this issue of Voices, our story about sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, Life in the Ulpana Neighborhood, and a ten-year Aliya Anniversary fully show our people’s love of Eretz Yisrael.
That’s not enough! We must each do our best to strengthen our relationship with Hashem and His commandments.
And we must pledge ourselves to help rebuild the Holy Temple in the third way - by looking past our differences, and to our commonalities. We must show acceptance and love for our brethren, no matter how different they are.
Enjoy this issue of Voices, and please visit our website and our blog, http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com.
Have a meaningful fast. May we be zoche to rebuild the Holy Temple in our day.