A Bisl Torah

Be Israel’s Blessing

The Torah teaches that Avraham was blessed in all things. However, the Torah doesn’t specify with what.

At this point in his life, Avraham was wealthy and possessed many material things. But Rebbe Nachman of Breslov suggests that being blessed has little to do with owning things. Rather, he teaches that Avraham was blessed because he finally felt at peace. Peace arrived after he was able to find a proper burial place for his beloved wife, Sarah. In other words, Avraham found peace when he chose to be a blessing for someone he loved…even if she would never know.

Today, asking someone how they are feeling is a tricky question. For many of us, we are scared and tired. Turning on the news feels risky. Who else will call for the demise of the Jews? How else will Israel be vilified in this war of her survival? Of our survival? When someone asks me how I am feeling, I usually look at their eyes and respond, “I probably feel just like you.”

I turn to our Torah for hope. Avraham finally felt at peace when engaged in hesed shel emet, in an act of loving kindness. Clergy explain at funerals that burying the dead is an act that cannot be repaid, a deed that cannot be returned.

Many of us will only feel true peace when the hostages are returned safely to their families and Hamas is completely ousted from Gaza. Yet, we can’t sit on our hands and stay immersed in our grief. Perhaps glimmers of peace will be felt when we choose to stand up, use our voice and find ways to be a blessing to our brothers and sisters in Israel. To be a blessing in ways some of them may never know.

Be a blessing by showing up.

Many in Los Angeles are going to the March on Washington on November 14th. Others are gathering with both Jews and non-Jews in an act of solidarity for Israel on November 19th at 6pm at Sinai Temple, in partnership with the Los Angeles Jewish Federation and many other communal organizations. On November 19th, elected officials and interfaith leaders will speak, reminding the world of our obligation to speak out for democracy and freedom. Join us. It is the least we can do for Israel, our beacon of light, our homeland.

Person by person…mitzvah by mitzvah…heart by heart…perhaps Israel will one day feel at peace because we stood up and chose to be a blessing.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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