Shavuot: One Heart



What is the greatest curse plaguing the Jewish people? Divisiveness.
What is the greatest blessing bestowed upon the Jewish people? Unity.

That unity was demonstrated more strongly than ever before (or since) at Sinai. It was such an extraordinary experience that, when we reciteDayanuduring the PassoverSeder, we say: “If we had only just arrived at Sinai, it would have been enough.”

As Jews, what we need today more than anything else is that unity – to finally look at each other as brothers and sisters. And instead of all the infighting of “denominations,” we need to recognize that we are all “one nation,” “one pillar,” and “one people, with one heart,” and that this does not need to compromise our diversity.
Instead of considering anyone more moral/religious than us as a fanatic and anyone less moral/religious than us as a heretic, we need to get beyond the labels and stereotypes that divide us, and treat our fellow Jews as our own family.
If you saw your own child do something you disapprove of, you would not cease to unconditionally love your child; yet, out of love you would also discipline your child, and you would let your child know that any rebuke is coming out of love.
Our collective attitude has to be the same as with our own family. We do not need to compromise our own commitment to Judaism to love others Jews, who have not yet reached our place, and welcome them and encourage them to grow together with us in our relationship with God.
If we have not internalized that lesson, it is what we must learn today, as we observe the holiday of Shavuot, when we commemorate the giving of the Torah at Sinai.
This day we also observe Yizkor, a special time to honor our unity as a people. As we transcend our bodily differences and petty divisions, and remember the souls of our loved ones, we learn about a new depth of love between us – a connection that unites “those standing here with us today and those that are not here with us this day.”


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