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Rejoicing In Unity
Sichos in English

 Lag B’Omer, 18th Day of Iyar, 5750

Unity in Diversity
Lag 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.”

Unity 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.

This 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.

Difference 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.

This 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.

Brotherly Outreach
Our 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.

This 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.

Harmony in the World
This 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.

Recognizing 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 even strife.

Indeed, 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 His control.

This 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.

The Family as a Chain
The 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.

Judaism 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 generation.

We 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 future.

Change of Regimes
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.

Through 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.

The Meaning of a Parade
The 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.

Joining 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.

Elevating Materiality
To 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.

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May 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.



Once mankind realizes that
G-d has provided abundance for everyone, there will be no motivation for war or strife.








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