Published Date: September 21, 2020
NEW VIDEO: A Song of Thanks
Please take 3:30 seconds to enjoy and share the song.
Perhaps we can truly change the world, just by saying Thank You
Sorry if it sounds presumptuous, however I recently heard that numerous representatives of Israeli Knesset and Aliyah departments have met to discuss the potential Aliyah of more than 500,000 people in the upcoming years. It sure feels exciting to me that we are going to be blessed to see the fulfillment of the prayer which we say three times every day.”…vikabetzenu yachad mehera me’arba kanfot ha’aretz l’Artzenu,” there should be a speedy ingathering of our people to our Land from the four corners of the earth. “blessed are you Hashem, the One who will bring together your dispersed nation.”
What will our reaction be? What do need to do, we who have the merit to live in Eretz Yisrael, to prepare for such an impressive large influx of brothers and sisters from all over the world. Will we go out of our way to help them acclimate? Will we reach out and share the wealth of information that we have garnered about the ins and outs of Israeli society? Perhaps even more important, will we make sure to make each and every one of the newcomers not feel like an outsider just because they were not blessed to be born here, don’t know the language and perhaps look at life with different glasses? I can’t help thinking that if we can respond in the positive we can wipe out all of the terrible hatred which is festering in our midst, mostly due to selfishness and personal insecurity. Our response must be very much Rosh Hashanah related. We must be listening. Listening to the needs of our brothers and sisters. Back to the present, it sure looks like it’s happening! A tremendous rise in aliyah statistics, peace treaties with Arab countries, and a new acute heightened awareness that Hashem is calling. While it is true that He has always been calling, it certainly seems much louder and clearer than any time in my personal lifetime. Now it seems to be getting even stronger as we approach Rosh Hashanah. It is on that day we hear the voice of Hashem crying out through the sound of the shofar. Listen to the call of God.
The Slonimer Rebbe teaches that the book of “Vayikra” opens as follows, “And he called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him.” (Vayikra 1.1) Why does the book open without immediately identifying the caller by saying, “And Hashem called to Moshe, as opposed to the actual words,” And He called to Moshe? Who is He that Moshe hears calling? The Rebbe’s answer is simple. Any calling that Moshe heard he immediately knew that it was Hashem speaking to him. Whatever happened, whatever he experienced, whatever he saw, whatever he heard, he knew that it was Hashem calling him.
This friends is also the story of our lives. Hashem is constantly calling ,but we seem to have a difficult time listening. Too scary? Too personal? Distracting from my daily routine? So many reasons to run. As the quote attributed to Joe Louis, (American boxer in the 1940’s )says, “you can run, but you can’t hide.” We try to hide or ignore, but He never stops calling, because, as The Holy Arizal teaches, all occurrences in our lives are a simply a piece of the life story set up exactly for our individual soul to experience and fix.
What does he want from us? Simple! He wants us to listen. Makes sense. Is there ever a situation when someone is calling that they are not interested in me listening to what they have to say? Of course not. When it comes to human interaction though, not everyone is interested in also hearing what I have to say in response to their call. Sometimes they just want to tell me something, period. You just listen to me! That’s where it ends. That Is not the case with the sound of Hashem’s voice calling via the shofar. He wants us to listen and when we do, The Rebbe explains, “this is our blessing.” The fact that we listen is the actualization of our blessing. This calling out is loudest and most direct on Rosh Hashanah, “Yom Hadin,” Judgement Day for the entire world. The listening to the voice of the shofar may make me cry, it may shake me inside and out, but it is clearly a heartfelt call to return to our roots and source of life .It is the voice of God calling us to return, as we read last week, “v’shavta ad Hashem Eloecha,” (Devarim 30.2) and you should return to Hashem your God, Thus, It is the listening itself which is source which creates blessing in our lives. The listening is the blessing.
There is an additional side to the beauty of listening. When Hashem sees that we are listening to His voice He also wants to hear back from us. He is ready to listen. What is my response? I need to call out to Hashem even though I can’t be sure that His answers will be what I am looking for. I need use that brokenness of the sound of the shofar to wake me up and set me free from the shackles which hold me back from connecting to Hashem. Am I ready to go forward, even though on the human level it is seems like an entrance into the world of the unknown? Truth be told, every day is like that, even though we think that our daily routine defines our future, the reality is that I have no idea what lies ahead of me in my future days. The only thing that I do know, is that I am promised that Hashem will keep calling and I will have a further opportunity to choose life and blessing as I listen. And I need the support of my friends and family to encourage me to not be afraid of exploring who I am and where I need to be. That I feel trusting of Hashem and my surroundings which he sent to me, to take the leap of bridging my “emunah,” belief, with the daily actualization of “bitachon,” trust and security in Hashem’s plan.
The best way to listen is to have an open trusting heart which understands that every circumstance, every person, every sound that we hear and sight that we see, is leading us to a year of new clarity and revelation. May Hashem bless us all to be good, secure respectful and loving listeners and may this be the year that absolutely brings us together. When thinking about the letter s of the forthcoming Jewish year 5781 or in Hebrew letters, Taf Shin Pey Alef I would like to clearly call out,
“Tehay Shnat Prichat Achdut,
“may this be the year of the blossoming of unity. AMEN!!!!
Shannah Tovah u’mtukah