Yours or Ours?
Our family just got back to Sioux Falls this week after being in New York for my sister's wedding. It was a beautiful time for the family to get together and spend time with one another and it all passed by too quickly. My sister grew up in Bournemouth, England, and her groom in Oklahoma City.
The wedding was full of guests from around the world, reflecting every type and stripe of Jew. There were more observant, and less observant, practicing and cultural. This is not something you see every day, but it very much reminded me of the magic you see at Chabad in South Dakota.
This week the Torah tells us that at the conclusion of the seven day Sukkot festival, G-d commands the Israelites to celebrate for one more day because "your separation is difficult." Meaning, it's "difficult" for G-d when the people of Israel must "separate" from Him to return home from the holiday celebrations.
When reading these verses and their commentary one wonders if it wouldn't be more appropriate to have written "our separation is difficult," as at the culmination of the festival the Jews part from G-d. What is meant by this seemingly odd terminology "your separation is difficult"?
The Rebbe explains the phrase "your separation is difficult," to mean the separation among the Jewish people themselves. When we are not united, when there is separation between us and lack of brotherhood and genuine love, this makes it difficult for G-d to shower us with blessings.
The lesson for us today is obvious. Although no two people are the same, we must each imbue ourselves with the recognition that we are one people. Then like now, the Torah serves as the moral compass and eternal guide for how we can live our lives with real meaning, and just as importantly, with inner-peace, love and unity. When we do so, we cause G-d to grant the Jewish people an abundance of blessing.
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Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz Blog
Serving the spiritual needs of the South Dakota Jewish community. Based in Sioux Falls and travels the state.