Sure you can argue that despite way too many superficial and often non-essential differences, Jews—-in the Orthodox Jewish community anyway—enjoy a certain consistent level of unity. I’m sure you can conjure up a multiplicity of issues that divide us and you would be on target. I’m arguing here that there is a fundamental level of unity that we may not even be able to adequately describe and its palpability transcends the simplicity of coming together when the community is under assault.
The suggestions of what the people who responded to my inquiry would like the Rabbi’s to focus on come Shabbos Shuva greatly varied as well. There was some overlap in the topic department but some took themes that seemed similar to others but took them in different directions.
Toby Greenwald, a former New Yorker and resident of Efrat in Gush Etzion and an occasional contributor to 5TJT and who recently wrote a piece about the heroic IDF officer Emanuel Moreno responded to what she would like to hear from her Rabbi on Shabbos Shuva: “I would like to hear the rabbis I know speak about Reb Zusha, about how everyone should concentrate on being the best person and Jew he can be, the best friend, the best husband, wife, parent, daughter, son, sister, brother. The best professional, whatever his profession – teacher, doctor, secretary, handyman. I would like to hear the rabbis speak about how we should spend more time examining our own souls, not the souls of others. That we should pray for a non-violent world. I would like to hear the rabbis speak about “dan l’kaf zchut” – about giving people the benefit of the doubt, which is about individuals, but also about not being “victims” – i.e., we, as Jews, should know when to fight back against evil. Evil is not a non-Orthodox Jew, a short skirt, an uncovered head (male or female). Evil is gossip. Evil is theft. Evil is deception. Evil is murder or attempted murder. Evil is rockets on Sderot. Evil is not your neighbor whose kids attend a different school than yours. I would like to hear the rabbis speak about getting some perspective. I would like the rabbis to remind us that every day we awake; we should thank Hashem for our lives, our families, our jobs, our countries, and our ability to think and to give to others. “
Phil Rosen, a resident of Lawrence and an individual deeply connected to the American and Israel political processes believes that this year’s drashas present a very unique opportunity for the Rabbi’s. He says that coming in relative close proximity to the American presidential elections that the Rabbi’s should at least in part use this opportunity to rally people and urge them not to be complacent when it comes to the electoral process.
He said: I’d love to hear the rabbis talk about how Hashem gives us clues as to how to live our lives – sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle. This last week while many rabbis were playing the non-commital game with respect to the election that will determine the future of the U.S. And Israel for generations, Hashem gave us the not so subtle sign. He sent the haters of Israel in the Democratic Party to show us what they really think of Israel. Never has there been a political sign as clear as the Jerusalem non-inclusion in the platform and then the false vote to reverse it. The pictures of Arabs screaming at the DNC (over 100 Arab delegates) against Israel was Hashem’s clear message. Wake up Jews in the U.S.!! You slept during WWII. Wake up now.”
Click Here to read: Speaking Their Minds part 1 by Larry Gordon