Yonatan Habakuk
Yonatan Habakuk Courtesy

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin (http://inthelandoftheJews.blogspot.com)

In this week's Torah portion, the word "brother" appears over and over again. The context, however, does not concern a biological brother, but someone with whom you conduct business. Before getting down to business, you should relate to the other person with a sense of brotherliness, as if he were your actual brother. Here are some examples taken from the text: *"No one should financially deceive his brother... If your brother becomes destitute... And let your brother live with you."*

This concept returns again and again. "Your brother" are the keywords. Here is a reminder that even when speaking of economics, bureaucracy, or politics, we cannot forget the foundation, the fact that we are all children of one father, and therefore we are brothers. The Rambam defines this relationship as follows:

*"All Jews and those who are attached to them are brothers, as it is said: 'You are children to the Lord your G-d.' If a brother will not have compassion for his brother, who will have compassion for him?"*


And just yesterday I saw how these words from the Torah and from the Rambam materialized in our own time. Yonatan Habakuk who was murdered in the terrorist attack in Elad was known as "our brother" ("Achinu"). He was the beloved car mechanic of his town who called everyone he met "our brother," and so this nickname stuck to him.

I heard his wife Limor say that in business, too, exactly as it says in the parasha, he behaved above all as a brother: He fixed cars for free, gave discounts, did not pressure those who owed him money about their debts. Even in his death he showed concern for his brothers: Yonatan fought with the terrorist, held him back, and so allowed those nearby to flee and save themselves. And just as he was in life, so is he in death.

It was not only a car mechanic from Elad who was killed. It was our brother.

And here is a letter to the residents of Tekoa sent by their rabbi, Rav Avi Bildstein, after a terrorist attack was thwarted by Tekoa resident Yair Maimon right next to the entrance to his home. These are the main points of the letter:

1. We must certainly thank Hashem and all his faithful emissaries with our most grateful and sincere expression of thanks. Yet already this morning I suggest we find an opportunity to express our thanks in "little things" -- in one little prayer, in one little good deed, with one more smile and one more kiss.

2. Let's pay special attention to our children, to the people around us and -- yes, to ourselves. Who needs help? It's courageous to ask for help when we need it. I personally, after an emergency training exercise, felt that I needed support. I turned to the Merkaz Hosen (counseling center) and received treatment (which is free . . .)

3. Finally - a return to our routine. How wonderful is this routine day that we received as a gift. And, after all, a routine is so blessed, so healthy, so healing. Let's embrace it this morning with both arms.

And good morning Israel!

Here are three simple messages: utter a thank you and a prayer, request help without being embarrassed to talk about it, and return to blessed routine. These days, it seems to me that they are three messages all of us could take to heart.

May we hear only good news.

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