I wrote this yesterday, but only just got round to posting it. Wishing everyone a gut yontiff and a gut yor!
Tonight we celebrate the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus.
I was going to wish a gut yontiff to my friends who celebrate and are inspired by Yud Tes Kislev. I was going to give a greeting specific to those of a certain level of observance, to those who belong to a certain school of thought. But I decided not to.
To single Jews out, to seperate them from other Jews, to divide them into Chassidim and opponents, is the very antithesis of ahavos Yisroel. Every Chabad-Lubavitch website I have ever come across has spoken of loving one’s fellow Jew. Chabad houses base their services upon this. Chabad leaders speak of this. Followers of Chabad base their lives upon this. Ahavos Yisroel is the pillar of Chassidism, but in recent days, it has been lacking. Division is rife. Petty rivalries break out. Sects form and factionalise. Loshon hora flies left, right and center. We are at war with our fellow Jews.
Let that sink in; we are at war with other Jews. While countless individuals, political parties and nations around the world seek to destroy us, we are destroying ourselves from within. Bombs fall on Eretz Yisroel and kill innocent Jews; and yet we criticise those very Jews for being ‘the wrong type of Jews’. Anti-Semitism is rampant, and yet we criticise the Chassidim for being ‘too Frum’, and the non-Chassidim for ‘not being frum enough’. How will Moshiach come, if we continue to fight among oursleves? How can we simply beg G-d for Moshiach’s arrival, without actually performing the mitzvot to hasten it? How can we bemoan the state of the world one minute, and spread loshon hora about our neighbours the next?
Luckily, there is hope. In the coming year of Chassidus, whether you study the Chassidus or not, you can bring Moshiach. You can repel all the wickedness, all the division in the world, with simple acts of love, of unity. Ahavos Yisroel is the key. If for every so-called Chassid who hates another Jew, there is one true Chassid who performs a good deed, we can overcome the hatred in the world. Recently, for numerous reasons, I have been saddened by the actions of my fellow Jews. Men who call themsleves Chassidim have acted like, CV”S, Midianites. They have excluded other Jews. Attacked other Jews. Shamed other Jews. But among them, there are true tzaddikim. People I have met, known, or heard of, who have shown true love, true chesed, in the face of all this hatred and darkness. And these people have left a much greater imprint on my life.
Please, in the following year, may we dedicate ourselves not only to the study of Holy texts, but to the performance of Holy deeds, and the spreading of Ahavos Yisroel. Gut Yontiff.