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Are we a team!

Thursday, 2 September, 2021 - 3:39 pm

 


Some years ago I participated in a course for young rabbis given by the Rabbinical Center of Europe. One of the lecturers, Eitan Eckstein, taught us about teamwork. 


And here is what I remember from that lecture:

Are four people traveling together from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for the same purpose – to attend a wedding, for instance – a team? Obviously not. “Do you know when they will go from being just four people to being a team?” asked the lecturer. “When they have a flat tire, they will immediately become a team.”

He quoted the American expert on organization, William G. Dyer, who wrote that a team is a collection of people who have to make use of group cooperation if each one of them wants to reach optimal success and achieve his goal. 


How is all this connected to us? It’s very simple: We are a team! In other words, we have to remember that we – every member of the Jewish nation, male or female – are a team. For in this week’s Parasha, which is always read before Rosh Hashana, there is the event that is the preparation for that Day of Judgment: “You are standing today, all of you, before Hashem, your G-d.” And then, the text goes on to list ten types of Jews: “the heads of your tribes, your elders and your officers – all the men of Israel. Your small children, your women, and your proselyte who is in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water.”


To put it simply: Today, Rosh Hashana, the day of judgment, you are standing together – the heads of your tribes and the drawers of your water, your elders and the hewers of your wood. You are one team! True, you are not equal, but that is because you are not meant to be equal. You are supposed to be different from one another because only that way, with every person contributing his different skills and abilities, will the team achieve its goal. 


The problem is that we remember that we’re a team and not just a collection of people only when we get a flat tire… For example, last summer the war turned all of us into a real team – a team that recognized the value of each and every individual and the real connection that we have with each other as a people. 


The Parasha of Nitzavim comes to tell us that we should remember that we are a team even when there is no flat tire. We should love and respect each other and deal with each other with love even when there are no sirens or missiles. 


My friends, there is no better preparation than that for Rosh Hashana; really, there isn’t. 


Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

 

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