Uniquely United

Friday, 30 September, 2022 - 7:05 am

Unity and difference are two contrasting, or even conflicting, themes.

For one there is a quest for unity, linking together, forgetting our differences and being one.

For the other there is a sense of distinctiveness, of unique identity, of an individual pathway and destiny.

Rosh Hashana represents unity where our differences are forgotten as we stand together in front of the King of Kings on the day of judgement. On Rosh Hashanah our relationship with Hashem is one of an unbreakable bond, where you can do no wrong! On Rosh Hashanah we are united, yet our individuality is not present.

Where is my individuality? What about my unique contribution to society, my flair, my style?

For this we have the parsha of Vayakhel and Yom Kippur. The parsha tells us “Gather the nation, the men, the women, the children, and the converts within your gates." This event was known as Hakhel.

As they entered the Holy Temple for the great event, they entered in an orderly fashion, each group was distinct. However, the party couldn't start until everyone arrived.

On Yom Kippur we implement this type of unity. Where the rubber meets the road. Where the unbreakable bond meets the real world. Where people are different and have differences.

We even begin Yom Kippur with "we hereby grant permission to pray with transgressors". We recognize that we aren't perfect. We realize that true unity is not when you are the same as me, but when we each contribute our uniqueness to the canvas of the world.

Each of us may have a different brush and a different color paint but together our unique brushstrokes create a colorful and beautiful community. A beautiful kaleidoscope or colorful canvas.

This year 5783 is a Hakhel year. This year, let us all unite in multiple different ways.

1) We are better together. Think Sukkot Community Programs :)

2) We are living in deeply divided times. We need to be here for each other in a far deeper and more powerful way. Even for those who we disagree with.

3) We are all internally fragmented. Let’s be present and reveal the hidden dimensions of ourselves. Our hidden beauty needs expression.

As an overarching rule, we need to recognize and share that although you and I may be different, when we are united we create a beautiful community. Not despite of our uniqueness and individuality but because of it.

Have a good Shabbos and may we all together be blessed with being sealed for a good year as a community and each one with what they need.

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S.To quote the great Kotzker Rebbe “If I am I, because you are you, and you are you, because I am I, then I am not I, and you are not you. But if I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you, and we can talk.”


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