Jewish Unity: It seems so elusive, yet its rewards are beyond measure.
What is it that makes it so difficult to accomplish? Is it the challenge of leaving our comfort zones? Do we subconsciously feel that if we welcome someone different than us we’re not being true to who we are? It definitely feels easier to raise children surrounded by like-minded people.
But A) isn’t there something we can learn from every living creature, particularly a fellow Jew? And on a deeper level, B) don’t we experience truth specifically when looking deeper than what is in front of our eyes? In the world of logic, for example, we come to a deeper truth when we are challenged by an opposite point but then find a deeper idea from which they both emanate.
When Yidden with different backgrounds and minhagim bond together, we experience yiddishkeit on a deeper level. It changes from a feeling of convenience in being the same as those around us to one of belonging to a unique nation with a spiritual mission. The differences are correctly seen as how we each express Judaism; what we are expressing is the same belief in Hashem and the eternity of the Torah and mitzvos.
If we can learn to respect each other and perhaps even learn from each other’s sincerity, we would be living a more complete yiddishkeit. Our children would also benefit tremendously from having a sense of the eternity of the Jewish people, which comes from connecting with members of other communities instead of falling back on our first reaction to point out why our way is better…
Perhaps part of the Divine plan is that the many communities and different paths converge at the end of golus as a preparation for the kahal gadol yashuvu heina, the great congregation which will return to Eretz Yisrael with the coming of Moshiach.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos and a festive Lag B’omer,