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Strange Kindness?

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 11:21 pm

It was the usual quick trip. I flew to Boston for a night on Sunday, invited by the Boston Jewish Film Festival, to do the post film Q&A of the Rabbi Goes West at the packed Somerville Theater. Hundreds of people who knew very little about Chabad philosophy, who haven’t necessarily ever interacted personally with one of the Rebbe’s emissaries and were never directly exposed to our views on Mashiach, Israel, Halacha, lifestyles and so much more, had an opportunity to watch the film and openly ask me how we, Chassidim, view certain issues, including topics that are emotionally charged. A room filled mostly by those who self-label as “liberal”, “reform” or “non-orthodox”, were extremely hospitable, warm and friendly; I felt like I was among family, not in hostile territory.

The next morning, I caught a glimpse of the impeachment hearing at Logan Airport…

In this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, we read about Abraham seeking a wife for his forty-year-old son Isaac. He chooses his selfless servant and prime student Eliezer for this significant mission and when Eliezer sees a young woman who is kind to a stranger and to the stranger’s animals, he figures she’s the right one for Isaac. He didn’t look to see which Ivy League she attended, what her father’s portfolio looks like or even what type of Jewish education she received; he simply wanted to see if she’s a kind individual. It seems so basic, and perhaps it is, but Eliezer focused on this aspect of Rebecca, as he knew that for someone to live with Isaac, a son of the incredibly kind Abraham and Sarah, they need to be kind at heart as well.

Back to the hearings, I think we can all agree that our country is losing its kindness for each other. Too many of our very own citizens, sometimes our own friends, are choosing extreme judgementalism and nastiness, instead of finding commonality and decency. It’s happening across the spectrum, on both sides of the political aisle, and is, sadly, penetrating young beautiful souls, who should see the G-d spark in every human being and instead are actively focusing on that which divides us, thinking they are superior to those they disagree with. Rebecca saw a stranger at a well, she didn’t ask him who he voted for, his opinion on taxes or if his boss Abraham was a Democrat or Republican; she offered water to him and his camel; old fashioned kindness.

Kind; not just a label for a bar!

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

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