Loving Other Jews: A Meditation

September 11, 2023

Rabbi Avi WeissWith all that’s happening in Israel, Rabbi Avi Weiss recently penned this poem-prayer, a Kavannah L’Ahavat Yisrael, and asks that communities begin to recite this in unity.

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A pintele Yid
A lonely Jew
A vulnerable JewA pintele yud
A lone mark
A tiny Hebrew letter
A yud aside another
A Jew beside an other
Evokes the Name of God
In unity, God sees
It is good

Unity is never uniformity
Uniformity is uni form
Crushing other views
Unity is uni tied, united
Despite differences

Dear dear God
Help us to know that
Am Yisrael is more than
The Nation of Israel
We are Family

And the test of family
Is not how we love
When we agree
But how we love
When we disagree

May we be careful with our words
For while a word is a word
And a deed is a deed
Words we say
Can lead to harmful, fatal deeds

May we not question
The motives of the other –
But instead
Listen to the other
Learn from the other

Sing and dance
The Psalmist’s dream
“Behold how beautiful how sweet
Sisters and brothers

Illuminate the Chassidic vision:
Every Yid has a single light
That begins and ends
But together, our lights fuse
Endless, eternal

With You
In unity
As family
In togetherness
With light forever

Help us, help us declare:
I am a kitzoni — an extremist Jew.
Not on the right, not on the left,
But an extremist in
Loving Other Jews.

Ahavat Yisrael

אַ פִּינְטֶעלֶע יִיד
יְהוּדִי בּוֹדֵד
יְהוּדִי שַׁבְרִירִיא פינטעלע יו”ד
סִימָן בּוֹדֵד
אוֹת עִבְרִית זְעִירָהנִצֶּבֶת יו”ד בְּצַד יו”ד
עוֹמֵד יְהוּדִי בְּצַד אָחִיו
וּפוֹרֵץ שֵׁם הָאֱ־לֹהִים
בְּאַחְדוּת, וַיַּרְא אֱ־לֹהִים
כִּי טוֹב

אַחְדוּת לְעוֹלָם אֵינֶנָּה אֲחִידוּת
כִּי הָאֲחִידוּת הִיא
רִסּוּק שֶׁל דֵּעוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת
אַךְ אַחְדוּת הִיא חַיֵּי יַחַד
לַמְרוֹת כָּל הַהֶבְדֵּלִים

הוֹ, אֱ־לֹהִים הַיָּקָר
סַיַּע לָנוּ לְהַכִּיר
שֶׁעַם יִשְׂרָאֵל
הוּא יוֹתֵר מֵעַם,
שֶׁכֻּלָּנוּ בְּנֵי מִשְׁפָּחָה אַחַת

וּמִשְׁפָּחָה נִבְחֶנֶת
לֹא רַק בְּאַהֲבָתָהּ
כְּשֶׁכֻּלָּהּ בְּדֵעָה אַחַת
אֶלָּא כֵּיצַד הִיא אוֹהֶבֶת
כְּשֶׁאֵין בְּקִרְבָּהּ הַסְכָּמָה

נַקְפִּיד עַל מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֵינוּ
כִּי בְּעוֹד מִלָּה הִיא מִלָּה
וּמַעֲשֶׂה הוּא מַעֲשֶׂה
דְּבָרִים הַיּוֹצְאִים מִן הַפֶּה
עֲלוּלִים לְהָבִיא לְתוֹצָאוֹת נוֹרָאוֹת, אֲיֻמּוֹת

לֹא נְעַרְעֵר עַל
מְנִיעָיו שֶׁל הָאַחֵר
אַדְּרַבָּא –
נַאֲזִין אֶל הָאַחֵר
נִלְמַד מִן הָאַחֵר

נִרְקֹד וְנָשִׁיר
אֶת חֲזוֹנוֹ שֶׁל הַמְּשׁוֹרֵר
“הִנֵּה מַה טּוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים
שֶׁבֶת אַחִים
גַּם יַחַד”

הָאֵר אֶת חֲזוֹנָהּ שֶׁל הַחֲסִידוּת:
לְכָל יְהוּדִי אוֹר מְיֻחָד מִשֶּׁלּוֹ
הַנִּדְלָק וְדוֹעֵךְ
אַךְ יַחְדָּיו, מִתְמַזְּגִים אוֹרוֹתֵינוּ
בְּלֹא קֵץ, לְעוֹלָמִים

בְּאוֹר נִצְחִי

עֲזֹר לָנוּ, עֲזֹר לָנוּ לְהַכְרִיז
כִּי “יְהוּדִי קִיצוֹנִי” אֲנִי
לֹא לְיָמִין אוֹ לִשְׂמֹאל
אֶלָּא קִיצוֹנִי,
קִיצוֹנִי בְּאַהֲבַת אַחַי הַיְּהוּדִים

אַהֲבַת יִשְׂרָאֵל

This Kavannah was composed by Rabbi Avi Weiss, translated into Hebrew by Prof. Avigdor Shinan and vocalized by Araleh Admanit. Rav Avi wishes to thank Rabbi Ezra Seligsohn, Gaya Aranoff Bernstein and Rabbi Aaron Frank for their input and encouragement.

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