The Daily Portion
A closer look at ourselves

You want to live only for yourself? So go into isolation only with yourself.

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

Sivan Rahav-Meir
Sivan Rahav-Meir
Eyal ben Ayish
"This is not meant to be a rebuke of others, but to make us give a closer look at ourselves," the Admor of Sanz began his publicly broadcast holiday message while in isolation.

"We find ourselves in the midst of a continuing plague. For many long months we have paid a heavy price in fatalities, each of which is the loss of an entire world."

After this opening, the Admor who is himself recovering from the coronavirus, suggested a new line of thought:

"We are compelled to be in isolation at this time. We have no opportunity to gather together or to congregate, not in synagogues and not for happy occasions. We need to keep our distances and need to be as cautious as possible. 'And you should be very careful for your lives' (Deuteronomy 4:15).

"But we must also contemplate how we ended up where we are now. Perhaps all of this isolation flows from the fact that there is separateness and controversy among us, a positive attitude is lacking, and peace does not prevail between one person and the next. We think only of ourselves, of our friends and relatives, or of our own community – and ignore the people of Israel.

"Instead of seeing only good and judging each person favorably, we gossip and slander, and for this we are paying dearly, measure for measure: You want to put others at a distance and live only for yourself? So go into isolation only with yourself.

The holiday of Sukkot is a time of ingathering, of unity, of the sukka of peace. We need to strengthen ourselves through love for Israel and to increase peace wherever we go and in whatever we do".

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As of yesterday morning, the number of those in Israel who have passed away from the pandemic stands at 1,749. It is simply not possible to speak of each and every one of the deceased, even though all are worthy of being eulogized, as everlasting memories of them will always be with us. Here is a brief description of just one corona victim whose spark of life continues to glow among us.

Rav Benaya Nebenzahl passed away last month after a prolonged struggle with the coronavirus even though he was meticulous in following the restrictions. There are many stories about his devotion to his students, his deep concern for everyone, his endless good deeds, and his fascinating educational approach.

One story about him in particular caught my eye:

His daughter was once about to leave with her school on its annual trip. She asked what clothes she should wear, whether the school's uniform or regular clothes. Her father asked her: "What do you think most of your friends will wear?" She gave her answer and then he said: "If so, wear what you think most of them will not be wearing so that if one of them wears something different from the rest, she will not feel alone and be embarrassed."

In his memory and in the memory of all those whose lives have been taken away but not forgotten.

• Translation by Yehoshua Siskin



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