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Powerful Unity

Friday, 4 April, 2014 - 1:29 pm

In the last 48 hours, since I have returned from an amazing trip to Israel, with ten other members of our community, I have been reflecting on my experiences of the trip. One event stands out powerfully in my mind this morning.

It took place on our way up to Jerusalem, with many who were going on their first visit to the holy city of the hopes of our ancestors for thousands of years. We stopped at the Judah Desert for a day of activity at Genesis Land, where we participated in the usual activities of camel riding, pita making, tent building etc. Later in the day, we all sat down together for a gourmet dinner in the fresh air and the breath-taking views of the hills of Israel.

photo (12).JPGDuring dinner, two soldiers who were injured in battles in recent years addressed us. One had lost his sight in Gaza, and the other lost his Legs in Lebanon. There was not a dry eye in the crowd. Moments later, we experienced one of the most joyous moments of the entire trip. Hundreds of us gathered in circles and danced to songs with an energy that is difficult to describe.

I was standing near the dancing and thinking about the soldiers who were at that point sitting by our side. I tried to make sense of this emotional shift.

When the soldiers were speaking, I felt that we didn't look at these young men as heroes; we just felt like they were our own children. Each one of us felt like getting up and hugging the young men as though they were our own flesh and blood.

I believe that the intensely powerful feeling of unity was the reason for the great joy that followed. 

I remember telling one of the members of our group, "I don't feel like going anywhere from here". I now realize that what I mean was that I didn’t want to leave that state of mind; I wish I could live with this passion every day of my life.

Comments on: Powerful Unity

Joannie wrote...

Meir - I have been watching and reading about the trip to Israel you took with members of your community. Every post and every picture was moving. Everyone was 'there'. No one was tagging along because someone pushed them to go.

It appears that those who went on this trip had a life-altering experience. Such things do happen. Each person is changed in their own personal way. And each person is special to Hashem and has their own personal mission to accomplish in His world. This trip sounds like it was an eye-opener and a soul-opener.

I have no doubt that your congregation understands how fortunate they are to have both you and Chani to help them discover the beauty that Judaism has to offer them. May Hashem give you and your family strength to continue and grow beyond your wildest dreams. And may He give your community the ability to grow beyond their wildest dreams.

In this vein, I am attaching a link to an article I wrote this week. Perhaps some of the women in your community could read it. Can't attach the link so I'll send it in an email.

Good Shabbos and a happy and kosher Pesach

Richard Steinberg wrote...

This was the most wonderful experience we have had. We travelled with great people throughout both Poland and Israel and felt all the emotions that go along with such a trip. We felt like our kids on the march of the living and now have a better understanding what they experienced and why they reacted the way they did.
On a lighter note, it was wonderful to meet Rebetzin Kaplan, Rabbi Meir's mother, and his brother who runs the sofer institute in Sfat. On our bus was Rabbi Yossi Kaplan from New Jersey, a cousin. Little did we know we were actually on a Kaplan mishpacha reunion! You could see how proud and excited the Rabbi was having us there in his hometown.
Gail and I want to thank you, Rav Meir, for all your niguns and songs on the bus and the help and empathy you had for us. This is an experience we will never forget and certainly brought us closer to our yiddishkeit.
May You and Chani and the children have a restful and peaceful Shabbat. I will be using the time to reflect on the trip and catch up,with my learning.
Today Rabah.

Richard and Gail.

Don Morris wrote...

It's hard for me to think anything after reading this post. It makes me feel still and closer to my soul and everyone else's as Hashem desires, eh?

Thanks Rabbi for being you and sharing your life's walk and of course
for supporting, guiding and teaching us in our Judaism. Big thanks to Chani and the kids as well for strengthening Jewish life here on VI.

Gut Shabbos, Nadav