Love from Helsinki!

Thursday, 14 July, 2022 - 6:49 pm

On Monday, I arrived at JFK Airport to escort Chaya onto her flight to Europe. She flew as an Unaccompanied Minor; I was just there to sign the paperwork and hug her goodbye. She is spending the month of July in Finland and Sweden with fellow Lubavitch girls, where she will enjoy time with her classmates from the Jewish online school and, I’m sure, making new friends. I was delighted to meet the Finnair team, from the check-in staff to the flight attendants, gate agents to the pilots, they all made me feel like “we’ve got this” and did their best to minimize Chaya’s anxiety about flying alone. They exuded kindness, and it went a long way.

In this week’s Torah portion, Chukas, we read about Moses leading Jewry towards the Promised Land. As they traversed the Transjordan, they were refused passage by various nations for no good reason. The Jews had pledged to purchase their water from the locals, eat their own food, stick to the road without deviating left or right; all they wanted was the right to cross the territory by foot. In Jewish law there is an idea of “Zeh Nehene, Vezeh Lo Chaser” meaning “One person benefits and the other person doesn’t lose anything as a result”. The Edomites, Emorites, Bashanites and the rest of them had nothing to lose, nada, and it would be so helpful to the Jews, yet they couldn’t find the kindness within their hearts to allow them through.

One of the three traits that the Talmud attributes to the Jews is that we are “merciful”. One can’t be Torah observant and cruel, it’s impossible and a contradiction in terms. Cruelty and kindness don’t dwell together. When we are younger, we can, sadly, believe that our religious principles are more important than basic humanity, genuine kindness, but it’s an absolute falsehood. My Rebbe, whose resting place I visited on Sunday, always lived by this ideal: Religion and kindness are always in sync, and when viciousness is on display one can be certain that Torah values are nowhere in the vicinity.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice”.








May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!









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