Torah Thinkers Forum

A Ray of Sunshine

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We are now in the week leading up to Tisha B'av, commemorating the tragic destruction of our two Batei Hamikdash. And as the Talmud states, a generation in which the Beit Hamikdash isn't rebuilt is as if it was destroyed in that time. So if we don't get a reprieve in the next few days, we need to acknowledge that we today are responsible for not yet achieving the final redemption that we all so desperately yearn for.

We know that the cause of the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash was because of Sinat Chinam, baseless hatred, among the Jewish people. If we look around Israel today, we easily see that we indeed have a long way to go to clean up our act. We see strife between those of the political Right and those of the political Left, between religious and secular Jews, between Ashkenazic and Sefardic Jews, and between Charedi and Dati Leumi (National Religious) Jews.  And the list goes on and on.

In my car driving around Jerusalem, I usually listen to a mixture of talk radio and music. This being a time when listening to instrumental music is prohibited, I switched to Radio Kol Chai, a somewhat amateurish Charedi radio station that I would not normally tune in to, but one that I could safely assume would not have any prohibited music playing. 

I heard people calling in wishing good health to family members, happy birthday wishes, and the like to their friends. And then one person called in with an unusual story and request. He related that last Rosh Hashanna, he was very sick and laid up in bed. He couldn't get to shul to hear the Shofar blowing. Now he has recovered and wishes to start a Gemach (a benevolent organization) in his home town of Elad in which he would pair up people who need someone to come to their home to blow the shofar, and people who were available to visit home-bound people and blow the shofar for them.

The radio announcer asked, "Why just in Elad? The idea is so good that you should expand it to the whole country!"  The caller said that he didn't know the various communities and wouldn't be able to match up people in close geographic range of each other.  The announcer said "We'll help you. We'll ask for volunteers from every community to step forward and take responsibility for their area. You just coordinate with them to set up to whom calls should be made, and the hours that calls will be accepted."  And so a national organization to help needy people was born!

What I was listening to was only a small step. Many more such initiatives need to be created in which we each reach out to our fellow Jews to help to fulfill whatever is lacking in their lives. We all need to be proactive and look for opportunities to connect to our brothers and sisters and slowly bring about a growing movement of "Ahavat Chinam"  -- love with no strings attached.

Each small step, like the Shofar Gemach, is like a ray of sunshine in an overcast gloomy day. Let's pray that we shall soon see all the clouds of hate and mistrust being blown away by an abundant radiance of love and kindness.

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COM_EASYBLOG_GUEST Thursday, 14 December 2017
Last updated on: 12/14/2017
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