With Strong Loving Hands
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| Published: April 12, 2021
Yes we are getting very close to the 8th and final day. How can I prepare for this magnanimous event? It is a bit scary, is it not? All of my personal dreams and aspirations, creation of independence, desires to contribute to the greater good fo the world, all of it sounds so appropriate and fitting. Will they still be alive and needed in the world to come? Who really knows? However, there si one thing that we believe with a complete belief. That is that on that day, it will be clear to everyone that Hashem is the one and only ruler and decisive leader of the world. “ On that day, Hashem will be One and His name will be one” ( Zechariah 14.9). For some reason, as I noted last week, for all kinds of reasons, while we do believe, we bridle our belief with fear. Why am I embarrassed to decree to others that yes, I want the “geulah,” to happen in my lifetime? Am I too concerned about going against the stride and being criticized.
Why does it seem that we are capable of believing in our minds, but unwilling to expand that belief to our entire heart and soul? Certainly it is important to have that intellectual basis of belief, but the time has come for belief in action. It is no longer amicable to be embarrassed to say that I truly want to do the will of my Creator. Even if I can’t prove and scientifically affirm what His will is, I must try to connect to it .For that alone, no doubt, we were brought into this world.
On the eight day, Aharon Hacohen heard about all that he needed to do to connect the people to Hashem. Thus he lifted his hands to the heavens and then toward the nation and he blessed them. ( Vayikra 9.22) Rashi teaches that the words and he blessed them are referring to what we call, “Bikat Kohanim,” the blessing od the Kohanim. What was Aharon’s goal in this action? The Mishnah in Pirkei Avot teaches us about Aharon’s character that he was, “ohev shalom, v’rodef shalom,” he loved peace and pursued Peace ( Avot 1.12). The Slonmer Rebbe brings down in the name of the Koznitzer Rebbe from his book, “Avodat Yisrael,” that there is a very specific role that the hands fo the Kohen play in the preislty blessing, more properly known as , “nesiat kapaim,” the raising up of the hands. The Kohen, standing firmly on his platform of “yirat Hashem and Ahavat Hashem,” was attempting to be a channel to connect Hashem’s love to His nation Yisrael. Who were those Kohanim? They were the Rabbis, teachers of their generation. They taught by example and connected the people to actualize their love for each other and Hashem. This behavior caused the people to lose all of their spiritual blemishes .Love in the heavens, love between the people, love for all creations.
We are coming so close to that eight day and need to actualize these messages without doubt. We all need to be, as Reb Shlomo taught us over and over again, little Rebbes, teachers of holiness through our desires and actions. We deserve to express our spiritual dreams and desires. Desiring this final redemption can serve as a most critical unifying force among our people, as it says in the “passuk,” when the heads of the nation gathered together the unified tribes of Yisrael ” ( Devarim 33.5). The Holy Koznitzer explains that that it was davka in the merit of the fact that the nation unified together, their holiness multiplied and thus, so did the holiness of their leaders. We need to increase love between us which first and foremost demands of us to wipe out any hatred that still exists. This will solidify the true social, familial and friendship connection that we need so strongly. From these two goals and I can receive the further strength that I need to search for my individual path to attach myself to my Creator, thus giving me “koach,” to at least try to enter His will into my everything that I do every single day.
There is no question that just as it happened in this week’s portion of Shemini, as brought by the sons of Aharon Hakohen, Nadav and Avihu, there is a strange fire being brought all over the world. Today on Yom Hashoah, I find myself listening to various testimonials from survivors of the Holocaust and realize that history, in many ways, is simply repeating itself right in front of our eyes. So often in the past, sadly enough, our response has been to turn away from this painful and potentially scary reality. It can’t happen again. Not here! Not now! At this moment in time, however, as we have now personally witnessed so much infliction of pain over the past 100 years, it is time for us to seek an honest, holy response to those who would like to destroy us, both physically and spiritually. So of course, where do I turn to find a real and honest response? I turn my heart and attention to a beautiful deep Torah that we were blessed to learn from Reb Shlomo. “You know friends, some day there will be peace in the world. There won’t be any more committees; there definitely won’t be a United Nations. There won’t be any politicians, I hope they will be around, but they dare opening their mouths any more. Just one human being to the other. People will hold each other’s hand and suddenly suddenly God will give us the gift of the greatest joy in the world, the greatest joy in the world. What’s the greatest joy in the world? You know what sad is? Loneliness! The deepest sadness. Being one with another human being is the greatest joy can you imagine. Imagine being one with the whole world. What joy!” ( You Tube Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Teaching Rabbi Nacman, Torah, Joy and happiness).
Here it all comes together. We need to start somewhere and we need to do it now! We are way beyond thinking about our response and certainly beyond simply sitting at forums and discussing what to do. We are in the generation of “ma’aseh,” action! Hashem has given us the hands to use in only the most positive ways, both physically and spiritually. We have the blessing from the Kohen to fuse the power of our hands and heart. We must walk, “yad b’yad,” hand in hand. Creating relationships of friendships, “yedid,”everywhere we go .If I might have the holy chutzpah to suggest, we must stop judging each other. As Reb Simchah Hochbaum reminded us this morning in the name of Reb Shlomo, “If he is enough of a Jew for the Nazis to hate him, he is enough of a Jew for me to love him.” We must emulate God and stretch our hand out to help others. We must pray to Hashem to display His “yad chazakah” for the whole world to see and know. This will unite us, it will join us together like the B’nai Yisrael as they were entering into the Holy Land for the first time (Devarim 33.5).
May we be blessed to draw from the “koach “of the holiday of Pesach, the holiday of belief, the holiday of love, into our lives in everything that we do all year and never be afraid to receive the truthful gifts that Hashem is sending us daily.