by R. Gil Student
This is an article in the upcoming issue of The Jewish Link of New Jersey.
Members of the Jewish community rightly strive for unity. Orthodox, Reform, Conservative… we are all Jews yet we wear denominational labels that seem like a remnant of last century. We are good at getting along on the individual level; can’t we unite organizationally and institutionally? We are one people yet we have different shuls and different schools. Why can’t we just be Jews, no label necessary?
God desires peace within the Jewish people. The Sages tell us that there is no greater vessel for divine blessing, no more effective method of earning heavenly grace, than peace (Uktzin 3:12). We are given permission to occasionally lie, based on God’s example, for the sake of peace (Yevamos 65b). When there is Jewish unity, even if some Jews are idolators the community is safe from divine fury (Tanchuma, Shoftim 18). Yet, with all this admirable desire for unity, there is another type of peace that sometimes lies neglected. To be good Jews, we need to ensure the proper priority order of communal peace.
Unity requires four elements, each essential to the survival of unity…
Read the rest at The Jewish Link