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Friday, 24 March, 2017 - 6:09 pm

"Love your fellow as yourself", Rabbi Akiva says this is THE cardinal principle of the Torah!
Why is it the most important thing in Judaism? Because the greatest fear a person has is the fear of loneliness, of being alone, of not being cared for by anyone. There are many challenges that life can throw at someone, but the strength that comes from knowing that we are not alone in this challenge, that we have the empathy, love and tears of a friend or loved one, often gives us the ability to overcome anything. The one time we feel helpless is when we sense that noone cares and that we don't matter..
Loneliness may not seem as threatening as the other challenges in life, but it undermines us in a way that no other challenge does. So when we reach out to another individual and simply show them that we are "with them", we may not have directly provided them with the answer to their problems, but we have given them something more important: the strength to find the way to overcome the problem itself.
As Passover approaches we would be wise to think of the first revelation of G-d to Moses: in a bush full of thorns. Why a thorn bush of all places? G-d was sending Moses and the People of Israel a message: So long that you dwell in suffering and slavery, that's where I dwell as well. I am with you in your pain and suffering. That knowledge was the beginning of the redemption.
Have you eliminated someone's loneliness lately?

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Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos

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