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Tuesday
May122015

UNITY WITHOUT CONCESSIONS

A point from the weekly D’var Malchus for Behar-B’Chukosai with a relevant message. * If achdus means the concession of one side or even of both sides, how come the conceding side always remains with a bitter taste in their mouth?

The story is told of a gadol b’Yisroel who was walking on the road when a wagon passed him carrying a load of wheat. On top sat a farmer. Something fell off the wagon and the farmer, who sat on top of the pile, was happy to see someone walking nearby at just the right time to help him.

He shouted, “Hey you down there, bring me that thing.”

When the man asked, “How can I reach you up there?” the farmer impatiently replied, “What’s the problem? You’ll come up as high as you can and I will come down as far as I can go, and we will meet somewhere in the middle.”

The tzaddik closed his eyes and said emotionally, “Ribbono shel olam, come down a little bit toward us and we will ascend to You and we will unite!”

***

That is a short Chassidic story which contains a lot in it. However, when we look to see what avoda is expected of us today, we discover that this story does not fit with the times we are living in. Here is a quote from the D’var Malchus of this week (os 8): “True bonding is (not in a way that the elyon descends from its loftiness for then it is not truly elyon, and the tachton ascends from its lowliness for then it’s not truly a tachton, rather) when the elyon as it is in its loftiness joins with the tachton as it is in its lowliness.”

NOT TO COMPROMISE (ONLY) ON MY POSITION. TO GIVE UP ALL MY METZIUS!

Let us try to recall ourselves in the heat of a stormy discussion which did not end in a definitive win for either one of the sides. Each side expressed its opinion forcefully, trying to influence the other. Most of the time, debates like this end with a tone of concession, “Okay, what’s the point in arguing, let it be your way. Actually, it’s not that important to me to win the point,” and then the argument ends.

Was true achdus made between the sides? Why does the conceding side feel a bitter taste by the supposedly successful conclusion?

There are people who live like this all the time. They see a pointless discussion from the get-go and immediately raise their hands so an argument does not ensue. “Fine, no problem.”

But this is not achdus! In order to join opposites and call it a true unity, they need to remain opposites, not that one concedes on his existence and manages to connect through the power of concession.

If the tachton ascends just a bit and the elyon descends just a bit, there is a connection but not of the true elyon and of the true tachton. So the entire unification is not genuine. When we encounter challenges in life, in most instances we find it hard to create a genuine connection. Our natural inclination is to pull one of the sides to the center. “To bring down the elyon from its loftiness” or “to raise up the tachton from its lowliness,” and then to easily form the connection. The assumption is that a true unity is not possible.

When sitting down to learn Torah, for example, you can sense the “maamer echad” (one utterance), i.e. the idea that the Torah is G-d’s wisdom, “Your Torah,” which we need to learn with bittul. On the other hand, there is the idea of the “Asara Maamaros” (ten utterances), i.e. we need to understand the Torah with human intellect. Can we simultaneously do both?

When having a substantive discussion, is it possible to come to a mutual agreement without one of the sides conceding a bit on its position and bending to the other side?

The answer was given at Mattan Torah; more precisely, at the place where the Torah was given. The Torah was given in a desert. A desert is a place that belongs to no one.

If Hashem only wanted to emphasize that the Torah belongs to every Jew, it could also have been given in a public place, a place that belongs to everyone. But Hashem chose to bring us to a place that belongs to no one. What message is there in that?

The message is, if you want to receive the Torah, you need to completely set aside your own existence, i.e. I, my desire and view, am not the issue here. The only question that will guide this discussion is: What is the G-dly desire?

When you conduct yourself this way, suddenly everything falls into place. You discover that the opposites are not opposites at all. You don’t need to pretend to concede and feel not good about it. Rather, you find that we really do think the same way because we both want what the Rebbe wants. That is true achdus!

YOU AND ME OR US?

When the slogan for unity is let’s you and me unite, each of us comes with our agenda for the purpose of conceding a bit of our own ego. This conceding is not true achdus because it does not unite us as we are, but creates a connection based on what we are not. When each of us approaches the matter with the Rebbe within each of us, we will really feel that we are one. In the Geula, it will be revealed that the true essence of the tachton is elyon, as they both exist to express the same divine truth. And the avoda demanded of us today is to reveal this. The emphasis is on not conceding on anything, neither diminishing the lights nor breaking the vessels. This is how we reveal that everything is G-dliness!

Let us put ourselves to the test with our Torah study, with how we discuss things, how we approach a Jew, every minute of the day: Do I market my personal merchandise or am I “an owner-less desert,” and the Rebbe can speak through me without my “stuff” getting in the way? When the Jewish people came to the Sinai Desert, to the level of “desert,” Hashem said, “The time has come for Me to give you My Torah.” If there is unity, there is bittul and we can accept the Torah which transcends the world and bring it into the world.

Let us behave in a manner of “desert” and immediately merit to see that the time has come for Me to give you My true and complete Geula.

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