A PRICELESS RING
Good Morning Everybody,
I planned to share the following practical idea last week toward the end of Sukkos but it didn’t quite work out. But now with the war going on in Israel, perhaps this idea is even more relevant.
As we know, the esrog, lulav, willow and myrtle branches that we take during Sukkos symbolize the various types of Jews within Klal Yisrael. When we hold these four species, it reminds us of the unity of the Jewish people. We’re all still individuals, but we come together as a single unit, or “bundle”. We’re cohesive, integrated, and exceedingly greater because of our unity.
During Sukkos, this idea is quite prominent. It’s spoken about a great deal and it’s potentially on our minds every time we pick up the 4 species and give them a shake. Then Sukkos passes, and the idea of Jewish unity tends to fade into the background. But this year is clearly different. The war has brought us together to a level that many of us have never experienced before. It’s of course sad that it took something so tragic to achieve this, but thank G-d we’re putting our differences aside and living like one cohesive “bundle “of Jews … going out of our way and sacrificing for one another.
G-d willing the war and the violence will be over very, very soon, and all those who are missing or kidnapped will be rescued and safe again. The question then becomes, what will happen to the beautiful bond that’s been holding us together? Will we slowly go back to old ways? Will we resume our unnecessary pettiness, quarreling, and destructive baseless hatred? Or will we learn our lesson about how magnificent it is to overlook our trivial differences and focus on our “oneness” … our undeniable Jewish oneness?
I don’t have a magical answer for how to maintain the precious unity we’re currently experiencing, but I do have a practical idea that I hope can help. In order to keep our feeling of unity alive, we need to concretize it. That’s where the four species from Sukkos come into play. Remember how they represent Jewish unity? Well, assuming you still have your lulav lying around, then you probably have at least one of those lulav rings that we use to tie and fasten the lulav. This ring can become a year-round symbol and visual anchor that rekindles our desire for Jewish unity. About three years ago, I started keeping one of my leftover lulav rings on a shelf where I keep my siddur (prayer book). This basically “forces” me to look at it every single day! Of course, this doesn’t turn me into an unconditionally loving tzaddik who wants to hug every Jew I see. But it does reawaken in me the idea of different types of Jews joining together … being bundled together and living peacefully.
Let’s commit to doing whatever it takes to perpetuate the unity that we feel now, so we never need another national crisis to unite us again.
Have a shalom-filled day, everyone.
Keep on Building!