Chief Rabbis' global call for unity...
After receiving a call from Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar suggesting that we issue a joint letter from chief rabbis around the world calling for Jewish unity.
I was really drawn to this idea and thought it a timely one given the connection with the festival of Shavuot, when the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Why is unity so central to Shavuot?
The Maharal of Prague cites the Zohar: "The people of Israel, the Torah and G-d are one." He explains that if the Jewish people are fragmented, it results in the Torah itself being fragmented. In other words, unity is a prerequisite for receiving the Torah. The Jewish people had to be united so that the Torah could come into the world whole.
These are very lofty ideas. Crucially, though, Jewish unity isn’t an abstract idea. It needs to be put into action. We pursue peace – we actively create the conditions for Jewish unity – by reaching out to each other, dealing sensitively and kindly with one another, building bridges, healing rifts, settling our differences through concerted action.
This idea forms the basis of our call to action. In our joint letter as chief rabbis around the world we are encouraging Jews everywhere to take practical steps to pursue peace and create unity.
The letter that I have signed, together with my fellow chief rabbis, can be accessed below.
I wish you all a chag sameach,
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein