On the Meaning of Unity
I recently had a chance to eat Shabbat lunch at the home of a friend I greatly admire. Most people in the community wouldn’t have lunch at his house, but I would. Why wouldn’t they, you ask. Well, he believes the Lubavitche Rebbi (was) the Moshiach. Now, I can deal with that. There’s a gigantic difference between Jews who believe the Rebbi was Moshiach and Jews for Jesus.
Christians and Jews who worship false gods base their erroneous beliefs on a a man-made faith whose entire philosophy is predicated upon unjustified concepts. I’m not going to delve into this. Chabad Jews who believe the Rebbi (was) the Moshiach are just another branch of Judaism.
As far as unity within the Jewish People, a good friend of mine once told me something I found very interesting. It turns out that the focal principles the three monotheistic faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) hold most dear are the ones they have the hardest time maintaining. Look at Christianity. Their underlining principle is “love.” They preach love for one another, love for all creatures. It’s love, love, and more unconditional love. Theirs is the faith that has (incidentally) murdered millions of innocent people throughout history. Their conquests, crusades and pogroms claimed countless lives.
Now look at Islam. It’s main principles? Not to steal and modesty. Yet Muslims are known as the biggest thieves and greatest womanizers. Is this mere chance? Judge for yourself!
And now for Judaism. We have been preaching unity from day 1. I don’t need to quote the Tanach for references. There’s overwhelming evidence for this claim. And what do we have the most trouble with? Unity. I recently learned that just like the Vilna Ga’on predicted the precise year (and month) for the outbreak of World War II, he predicted that it would be followed by an age during which Jews would have tremendous trouble dealing with each other’s differences. So when I hear of a Lubavitche Rabbi visiting a different synagogue in Crown Heights every Shabbat, I’m overjoyed. When I hear of Yishai Fleisher sitting down with representatives of Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), it makes me smile.
Unity isn’t easy. We hate each other. Ashkenazim hate Sephardim and vice versa. The religious hate the secular. Secular Jews hate religious-especially ultra-Orthodox Jews, and so on. It’s a perpetual cycle of anymosity. And to think: we were all one happy family just a hundred-fifty years ago. What has changed!? What has shaken our community so much that “there are three opinions for every two Jews”? Maybe, some of you have the answer. I’m just struggling to understand…
Whatever the case may be, I call on you to go “shul-shopping.” Make a concerted effort to attend services at a new synagogue every Shabbat. Have dinner with your liberal friends; lunch with your “Yichi” neighbor. Only then will we find out if the Rebbi…