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What does unity really mean?

Friday, 11 September, 2020 - 4:05 pm


We are about to experience the final Shabbat of the year. In Judaism every ending is a stepping stone for a greater beginning and the theme of this Shabbat is preparation for a better and happier year.

On the final Shabbat of every month we bless the coming month during Shabbat morning in the presence of the Torah scroll. This week, however, we will not observe this ritual, and the Baal Shem Tov explained that on the final Shabbat of this month G-d Himself blesses the new month, thereby giving us the ability to sanctify the rest of the eleven months to come.

G-d’s blessing reaches us through the Torah and the Torah reading for this week contains a tremendous lesson for us as we enter the new year and prepare to introduce more divinity into the coming months.

Parshat Nitzavim opens with our covenant with G-d; our commitment to cherish the Torah, observe the commandments, ensure that Jewish tradition continues to the next generation and G-d’s commitment to cherish us as a nation. To secure the covenant, G-d enjoins us to be responsible for each other, to ensure we all live up to our obligations. The attitude of “mind your own business” and “take care of your own obligations” is completely un-Jewish. Every individual is bound to look out for everyone else as well.

Securing a loan through a guarantor only works if the guarantor is on stronger financial footing than the borrower. Would you ever accept a pauper as a guarantor for a loan of any size?

In the case of our eternal covenant with G-d, however, every Jew is a guarantor for every Jew, regardless of their respective level in knowledge or piety, because every Jew has a unique spiritual advantage over everyone else.  Similar to the limbs of a body. While the brain is the epicenter of life, with all of its superiority, it cannot reach its destination without the services of the feet - giving the feet an element of superiority over the brain.

The Jewish nation is a large body. Diverse in nature but inherently united in the combined mission to bring the world to perfection. Some play superior roles to others, but everyone has a unique ability and purpose which makes them uniquely superior over everyone else. This respective superiority makes every one of us a guarantor for each other and obligates us to look for each other.

Be sure your friends and family have what they need to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and that they will hear the Shofar in-person on Sunday, September 20. Doing so creates a conduit for blessing and success and convinces G-d to bless us all with a good and sweet new year.


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