We’re all different, and we all have something to say and contribute to solve life’s challenges. While some of us may think that they are better than others, the reality is that we are all human, fallible, and subject to life’s circumstance and G-d’s mighty hand. However, too often, we let ego get in the way, and instead of taking on the huge, almost insurmountable challenges that we face, we end up fighting about who’s in charge and who gets the credit.
As we face the daunting challenges confronting America, Israel, and the world, we need effective “servant-leaders,” who are guided by a genuine moral compass and faith in G-d to take well-reasoned actions and not to punt the problems down the political road. Real leadership means leaving your ego at the door; it means self-sacrifice, compassion, creative thinking, and bold problem-solving. Big challenges can be dealt with, but we’ve got to have the right measure of ourselves, strength of character, and unity of purpose to finally overcome them.
We are all reeling from the devastating deaths of 45 Jews on Lag B’Omer at Mount Meron (and many others critically injured) from a stampede during the bonfire celebration near the grave of the holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Last night, we were glued to the new as the body count kept going up. I couldn’t help thinking to myself that this is something that happens in the masses of people that gather in India or Saudi Arabia, not in the tiny State of Israel. But lo’ and behold, tragedy can strike anywhere, anytime. Life is completely tenuous!
So can we draw conclusions that in those days there was baseless hate and so too in our times. I think, while we don’t know G-d’s ways, certainly from experience and observation, we do know that there is not only baseless hate, but also plenty of “hate the baseless”. And what I mean by that is that one type of Jew thinks they are better than another whose beliefs, faith, and observance we denigrate and deem baseless, without support and they without real merit…We are forever driven towards a “Better than thou” attitude and lifestyle. To the religious catcalls of “get out of our neighborhood slut” or the throwing of Shabbat rocks at passing cars. This all has got to stop! (Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)