Wow! Having spent the first forty years of my life following a stream of Yiddishkeit that is not the same as the one my nuclear family embraces today, and having always welcomed all flavors of Jews to my home, to my table, and, otherwise, to my life, it does not fail to surprise me when any Jew attacks me, privately or publically, in print or by spoken discourse, directly or implicitly, for being “different” from him or her. I don’t understand and hope I never will grasp the need actualized by some of us to separate us members of The Klal from each other.
Whereas I might elect to purchase certain hecsherim for my home, or to encourage my oldest child, who is in “the parsha,” to date certain sorts of young man, I neither deride other Jews for their koshrut choices, nor insist that my daughter necessarily limits herself to certain boys (So far, for example, her suitors have ranged from hilltop settlers to black-hatted fellows. I pray only that the right young man, i.e. that her basherte, will make himself known at the right time). My friends, and my extended family, for that matter, range from “nonobservant” to folks of the long payos persuasion.
A Jew is a Jew. None of us have been given the authority to decry the worth of another member of Am Yisrael. None of us ought to waste a single precious moment of life doing so.
Consider that the entire array of us was counted when the shekalim were collected. Consider that the twelve tribes are related branches, not separate entities. Consider that even if we fail, has v’shalom, to regard ourselves as united, our enemies, as evidenced by The Shoah, and as evidenced by contemporary politics, consider us a single people.
So what gives? Do any of us really have the spiritual luxury to spend our resources, or the moral chutzpah to cause other Jews to use up their resources, on base behavior, on broadcasting prejudice against each other? I doubt it.
Let’s reboot. Let’s try to focus on what we share. Let’s stop weighing whether or not someone has a kippa on his head, and, if so, what the nature of that covering is. Let’s stop looking at whether or not someone has a beard, and, if so, what type. The “face” we present to ourselves, and less importantly, to the world, needs to be one of alliance.
Not only are we at risk of delaying the rebuilding of the Temple because of our inexcusable hatred, and at risk of delaying the coming of Moshiach because of our unjustifiable disgust with each other, but we are also at risk of losing the land that is dear to us, G-d forbid, and, more personally, of losing ourselves. I disbelieve that those are the outcomes we seek.
In contrast, when we cleave to each other, miracles happen. Hashem smiles on his children’s efforts to get along together and rewards us with good ends.
So I say to the religious leader, the one who attacked me in print, because I said that I love B’nai Yisrael far more than I love our people’s enemies, and I exclaim to the guest, who I met at a simcha, the one who ridiculed me for deigning to have sufficient mind and mouth to object to being sidelined because I did not dress exactly like some of the other guests, get over yourselves. If you have rhetorical prowess, please do not use it to fuel the designs of the yetza hara, to further splinter Hashem’s people.