If I were to ask you, a recipient of my weekly email, whether you think Bibi Netanyahu should speak in Congress next week, I would probably get the full gamut of responses.
Some would insist that of course he should speak;after all, we need to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear power. Others will say that Bibi is wrong for angering the White House and Obama; we need Obama on our side. Still others feel that nothing will be achieved by this speech, so why bother?
In fact, on Facebook I have friends voting for Bennet, friends voting for Likud and others for Meretz, Yachad, Shas and Livni. I even have a relative who tells me she cannot identify with any party and is not going to vote at all. I’ve been watching raging arguments break out on social media as people express their outrage and try to convince everyone to see things the way they do.
You know the old joke about the Jew who gets stranded on a deserted island. Finally, after many long months, he is rescued. His rescuers are surprised to see two rather large buildings on the island.
“What are these?” they ask.
He points to one of the buildings. “That’s the synagogue I built when I first arrived.”
“What’s the other one?” they probe.
“That’s also a synagogue.”
“But why do you need two synagogues? It’s only you here!” they asked.
“Are you kidding me?” he replied angrily. “That one over there, I wouldn’t walk into if you paid me!”
It’s ok for us Jews to have differing opinions. That’s perfectly acceptable. But when the difference of opinion leads to venom and animosity, then it becomes a problem.
Loving our fellow Jews means loving them regardless of which party they vote for. It means loving them even if they hate Bibi Netanyahu. I may disagree ideologically, I may know that he or she is 100% wrong, but I love and respect the person nonetheless.
Do I think Bibi should speak in Congress? Do I think it will stop Iran from developing their nuclear bomb? That, I don’t know. But I do know that the Jewish nation has an invincible weapon that can certainly protect us from it. Unity. When we are truly united, we cannot be destroyed.
Of course, we need the IDF. We need a strong army and powerful weapons. We need to do everything in power to protect ourselves, but ultimately G-d decides. And when He sees that despite our vastly differing opinions we are united, we become indestructible.
We are about to celebrate the holiday of Purim, when it’s traditional to disguise ourselves with costumes and masks. Why? When we dress up we show that there is a part of us that remains hidden. My outer self, the one usually on display, is not everything. The real me, and the real you, we are unified. We love each other. It’s only our external selves that are currently arguing.
Try to recall the incredible unity our nation displayed last summer as we prayed for the missing Israeli boys. And the incredible unity we showed at the funerals for the lone soldiers. That is when we showed our true colors. We have done it before and we can do it again. We are, at heart, a nation that cares.