What is going on?
I ask that in the most desperate of tones, a tone that you must imagine.
But imagine it being said in that voice thick with tears, you know, the one we avoid using.
Imagine it being said with a broken heart, and fear building in my blood.
What is going on?
I sit here, in the comfort of the United States of America. Or so I think.
I can’t be more wrong.
I sit here amongst enemies, too polite to pounce.
Something is almost more terrifying when you don’t know who your enemies actually are.
As an American, I have distanced myself from the fact that there are too many people out there in the world who want me dead.
They want me dead because I was born into a family of the Jewish faith.
They want me dead because I accepted upon myself to serve a G-d that I believe in, a G-d I have never pushed onto another person.
I sit here, and I know I am amongst millions of other Jewish people. They are wanted dead too.
So why do I feel so alone?
In the times of the Maccabees, and the times of Purim, the existence of the Jewish nation was threatened.
The Jewish people banded together as one and they fought back.
Logistically, they never should have won.
But by banding together, they called upon their G-d, and He recognized their unity. He recognized them as his nation, and he lifted them up, above nature, above the level of being annihilated by others.
This year is the year of Hahkel. The year of gathering.
Gathering the nation.
Those who believe in G-d, and those who don’t. Those who wear black hats, and those who have long Peyos. Those who cover their hair, those who shave it, and those who have never dreamed of it.
We are a people.
We are a family.
This is the year we are supposed to find each other. Invite each other into our homes.
Why do we hold out our weapons towards each other, when we are barely the enemy?
Why do we hold each other at arms distance, when what we all really need is a hug?
I won’t pretend I have never mocked those more religious than me.
I won’t pretend I have never judged those less.
We all do.
But at this moment, how can we afford to?
How can we afford to push each other away?
How can we not recognize that by doing that, the enemy is winning?
How can we not realize that by fighting petty fights, or by fighting enormous fights, in Facebook feeds or in Shuls, we are tearing our family apart?
How can we not see that all we have is each other?
It’s always been that way.
We have no one to trust. No one to believe in to protect us.
No one but ourselves.
I’m just as scared as you.
The way the world is turned against us is not comforting.
The world is in an uneven balance of World vs. Israel, Everyone vs. Jews.
But our nation has been faced with this before.
This is nothing new.
We are in a year of Hakel.
How can we ignore that? How can we pretend it’s not a blatant reminder, a gentle scolding, how can we not try to love each other a little more?
Who cares if the way someone serves their G-d is different than yours?
If you have chosen a path other than being religious, stop putting down those who have chosen the ultra-orthodox path.
If you have held to your ultra-orthodox beliefs, let those who have chosen otherwise be.
The rest of the world doesn’t care if you don’t keep Shabbat or only drink Chalav Yisroel milk.
They hate us because we are Jewish.
They see us a nation, and they hate us all equally.
Why don’t we see ourselves as a nation?
The rest of the world knows something we don’t.
We are one.
Let’s act like it.
If you are not doing anything to change the circumstances, than how can you stand there and put down others attempts?
We are a nation. An opinionated one, and a passionate one.
Maybe, just this once, we can lay down our weapons. Stop our assaults of each other and just be there for one another.
The only way we’ll win is if we stand together.
What is going on?