One Plus One

One Plus One

Recall the exhilaration you felt as a child when the jigsaw puzzle you laboured over finally began to fall into place, when the mathematical problem saw a potential solution, when the chess pieces produced a game winning plan. The puzzle, problem, game, may not have been complete, but you just knew that the solution was about to appear and coalesce into personal victory. When all possibilities wonderfully collapse into a state of Oneness.

That’s the story of this week’s Parsha – ‘Vayakhel’. The word itself relates to Kehila – community. A community is made up of moving pieces synergising in concert towards a greater goal and quality of life – a whole that is much greater than the sum of the moving parts!

The Jewish nation is invincible, incredible, irrepressible – but only when the pieces operate synergistically – when we are One. Our historical tragedies all took place when we were internally splintered, divided and mutually intolerant. Refer to the Golden Calf when the ‘planted sleepers’, the ‘eirev rav’ movement (the foreign ‘hangers-on’) split our unity. Refer to the destruction the Temple, the result of domestic fracture and internal dissension – Sin’at Chinam (wanton animosity). Just as compellingly one can view all Jewish national tragedies of the modern era, the ultimate result of in-house discord, leading to self-destruction.

Today we are once again being tested. The streets of Tel Aviv have revealed societal fracture – Jew against Jew, and in a loud and ugly manner. Not a shred of love and civil disagreement, and this in the face of most imminent danger to our homeland since the exile of 2000 years ago. The streets of Israel echo with the loud angry shouting and provocative placards – the language of raw politics enflaming edgy emotions. Even playing politics with the hostages!

A community of millions of Jews, Israel, is in existential danger and we are not pulling together.  Fragmentation occurring in the midst of a war, and the enemy feels our societal weaknesses all too well, just waiting for us to self-destruct.  Forget the danger of tunnels in the south and powerful rockets to the north. The real danger is us!

The irony is that the war has provided Israeli society, and Jewish societies around the world, with the glue to bring together shattered fragments of peoplehood. But now, exactly five months later, the ugly underbelly of internal dispute is beginning once again to raise its ugly head.

The solution: you and I have to help pull the pieces together.  We must complete the jigsaw puzzle by placing the last pieces of love and respect for each other into place. We must protect the chess queen, the beating Jewish heart, by collectively check-mating the terrorist’s king. We must add the numbers correctly, bringing the total to One – one nation, one people, one cohesive unity – one world-wide KehilaVayakhel

This can only occur when all of us, no matter our politics, attitudes, pet peeves and personal dislikes, set these aside, and verbally, tangibly, genuinely, embrace each other.

Only then can one plus one equal ONE.