A Thought for the Week
Last night I heard about an astounding
study that affects us all. A certain philanthropist in Long Island is
funding an academic study on the "fallout" from Judaism. Why are
so many children falling through the cracks of the Jewish community? We all
have our own ideas and theories about this and there is probably truth to
all of them. The study so far points to a common denominator or a pattern
that has developed. Almost all those that have fallen away are not members
of a community - a Kehilla. Could it be so simple? Probably not. But it sure
makes a lot of sense. Whatever the individual problem, learning
disabilities, dysfunctional households, or lousy schools it is
possible to survive if there is a safety net of community. If everyone is
doing their own thing, leaving wide cracks in between, people will fall
between those cracks.
We say it in our Siddur. "All the celestial beings accept upon themselves the yoke of Heaven and then they all give permission to each other to sanctify their Creator with praise. in unity they all say Kadosh, Kadosh, kadosh."
Why do angels need permission from each other to praise G-d? Because there is no praise in a vacuum. There is no existence in a vacuum. G-d designed the world, on all levels, for sharing.
During these days between Pesach and Shavuos let's consider our own families. I find it disheartening that there seems to be an anti-communal culture. Not just in shtiebels but in schools and in Chesed and Tzedaka organizations. Everyone is falling into the trap. We must guard ourselves from privatization. If our families are not part of something greater than themselves, like the students of Rabbi Akiva - they will perish. The students of Rabbi Akiva were great people but even Malachim have to share with each other. The students of Rabbi Akiva defied their design and perished. No one, not even angels are designed to go it alone. A net pulled apart into thread will save no one!
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Haber is the OU's National Director of Jewish Education and the spiritual leader of the OU's Pardes Program
Comments and questions are very welcome
"A tree of life for those who embrace it"