Sichos in English
B’Omer, 18th Day of Iyar, 5750
B’Omer is a day of rejoicing when Jews celebrate their unity by
gathering Jewish children together. Significantly, it is the yahrtzeit
of the great Talmudic sage, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, whose teachings
highlighted the concept of unity by drawing attention to the verse,
“How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to sit together.”
stems from shared roots, as with brothers who are bound together because
they share the same father. Although they lead separate and sometimes
very divergent existences, their fundamental common identity remains.
concept is reflected in the vision of the prophet Zacharia, in which the
menora symbolizes the Jewish people. The candelabra, which has
seven branches, symbolizes seven different paths of Divine service. Yet
it was made of a single piece of gold, indicating that the Jewish people
remain one unified entity despite their different qualities.
need not lead to division. On the contrary, true unity comes from a
synthesis of different — and even opposite — paths. The Patriarchs,
Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov, represent different approaches to Divine
service. Avrohom represented the love of G-d; Yitzchok, the awe of G-d;
and Yaakov, the harmony between these opposites. Yet together, they
establish the one and unique spiritual heritage of our people.
unity has a broader scope, encompassing all of mankind – both Jews as
well as non-Jews. It extends beyond the human realm to include all of
existence, since we all are G-d’s creations.
awareness of this fundamental oneness affects our relationships with our
fellow men and the world at large. Differences between people are
overshadowed by what is common to all of us. Therefore, a person need
not feel threatened by the difference between him and others. Instead,
he should reach out to others with love and seek to help them. Should he
see an undesirable quality, rather than reject his colleague, responding
with negative feelings, his feelings of compassion should be aroused. He
should try to help the other correct his fault, thereby allowing the
oneness between them to be complete.
is one of the meanings of tzedaka. Tzedaka
does not mean merely giving a charitable donation to a needy person, but
rather, offering others all necessary assistance, be it material or
spiritual. Doing so cancels the factors disrupting the unity between
individuals or between nations.
in the World
approach is the key to peace and unity in the world at large. G-d has
provided ample and abundant blessings in the world He created “with
kindness, love, and mercy.” He has called on mankind to emulate these
qualities by sharing G-d-given benefits with others, helping them
materially and spiritually.
the abundance of G-d’s blessings and man’s role in their
preservation and in their appropriate use will remove the basis for
strife and division among nations. Once mankind realizes that G-d has
provided abundance for everyone, there will be no motivation for war or
adopting this approach adds to the blessings G-d grants in the world at
large and averts the “need” for Him to use temporary measures —
earthquakes and the like — to remind us of His constant presence and
approach will refine the world and hasten the coming of the era which
will express its ultimate state of perfection when “One nation will
not lift up a sword against another, nor will they learn war any
more.” This unity will be extended even beyond the human realm,
spreading into the animal kingdom, as it is written, “A wolf will
dwell with a lamb and a leopard with a kid.” It will encompass every
aspect of existence.
Family as a Chain
goodness and blessing G-d grants will be reflected in the personal world
of each individual, particularly in what is most important to each man,
his home and his family, so that he will derive genuine nachas
from his children and grandchildren.
has always emphasized the importance of the continuity of tradition,
denying the justification for a gap between generations. Rather, every
family, Jewish or non-Jewish, should be an integral entity,
communicating and passing down true values from generation to
are beginning to notice a restoration of communication between
generations, a realization of the great resource we have in our parents
and grandparents. This awareness enables the present generation to
transmit the knowledge, experience, and values of the past to the
process of communication is the essence of education. It has been the
positive force shaping the progress of civilization throughout history.
The desire for an environment conducive to education is at the core of
the turn of events we have witnessed in the past months and which are
characteristic of this unique year, 5750, a “Year of Miracles.”
Regimes based on an educational system that employed force and fear to
transmit their values have given way to a system that supports an
environment conducive to the natural motivation for development
possessed by every child.
the establishment of an environment of warmth, love, joy, and
disciplined freedom, we will enable all children to develop their
G-d-given potential, without intimidation or hindrance by fear, and
inspire them to dedicate themselves to a life of positive activity,
spreading good throughout the world.
Meaning of a Parade
essential aspect of a parade is the expression of pride in one’s
beliefs and values. A parade provides an opportunity to demonstrate this
pride to others. In a parade, one does not stand still, indicating the
need to continually proceed further in positive activities. The main
participants in this parade are children, who reflect the concepts of
progress and growth more noticeably than adults. Each year, and even
each season of the year, their bodies grow. This physical growth should
be accompanied by spiritual growth, which, in turn, should be reflected
in changes of behavior, and an increase of good deeds.
this parade are representatives of the city, state, and national
government, indicating that they share the desire to spread love,
brotherhood, and peace. This is further emphasized by their manner of
participation — including arranging for bands to play music — for
music spreads happiness and encourages communication and peace. The
latter ideals will be accomplished by encouraging education — in
particular, by promoting the observance of the seven universal laws
commanded to Noach and his descendants, and by spreading the practice of
tzedaka, righteous and charitable conduct.
inspire these activities, a special silver coin has been minted for this
occasion, to be distributed to all the participants. In the Holy Temple
in Jerusalem and in its service, silver and other material goods were
used to create a dwelling for G-d. In a larger sense, all of our
involvement in the material world should be dedicated to this purpose.
The coin will serve as a memento of this occasion and inspire us to use
money and all material objects for good purposes, particularly for tzedaka.
all these activities lead to the revelation of the ultimate good within
the world, the realization that “everything was created for His
glory.” This will herald the coming of the age when “G-d will reign
forever and ever” with the coming of Moshiach, who will bring the
complete and ultimate Redemption. May it be imminently, amen.