You may have seen the colorful fliers in The Jewish Link and at shul highlighting shiurim across Teaneck on the topic of ahavat Yisrael. It has been a delight to hear from many wonderful, talented rabbanim, rebbetzins and educators. We are fortunate to have multiple shuls, each with its own ta’am, and hearing from some of the speakers for the first time gave new appreciation for what the community offers.
There are so many layers and lessons that can be probed and derived from a single topic: ahavat Yisrael. Rabbi Neuburger described how bein adam laMakom and bein adam lechavero are interdependent both halves of the luchot work together (appropriately shared on 17 Tammuz). Rabbi Wiener shared insights about possessions and the importance of being happy for someone who possesses more than you. Rabbi Ciment framed dating as something that requires the help of others, pointing out that even Avraham Avinu recognized that this was something one can’t do alone. Rebbetzin Sobolosky shared numerous insights into elevating dating practices and being a mentsch. Rabbi Sobolofsky highlighted the importance of communal responsibility and Rabbi Zahtz and Rabbi Schlusselberg each offered novel definitions of sinat chinam (one being unnecessarily holding onto feeling slighted and the other being hatred that is not worth the high cost of its punishment, respectively) as well as approaches to counter them; in his shiur, Rav Moshe Tzvi Weinberg shared a nuanced definition of achdut — recognizing our common source, while appreciating that there are many paths to serving Hashem; and Rabbi Taubes had a whopping 86 sources guiding an intriguing exploration of whether there are people we are allowed to hate (turns out we can’t hate people of that category today because we don’t know how to properly give tochacha). And there were many, many more. (To note: some of the shiurim described above can be found on YUTorah).
In the midst of the shiurim-hopping, there was HASC Experience Day. Aside from the comprehensive vibe of simcha, the spirit of connection was overwhelming. Camp HASC is basically an entity whose core mission is ahavat Yisrael. Each staff member is there with one purpose in mind, to love and help a fellow Jew. In the small microcosm of a camp environment such as HASC, it is easy to keep this focus front and center, day in and day out, as choices and decisions are made. The power of ahavat Yisrael is palpable.
The community shiurim along with HASC Experience Day have been incredibly inspiring — to be a part of a community with a bounty of shuls, amazing rabbanim, rebbetzins and educators, with multiple sources of Torah and opportunities for growth, is incredible. And that there are amazing places where individuals share unconditional acceptance and love, not contingent on anything more than the commitment to Torah and being there for one another, is truly inspiring as well.
I am very much looking forward to the remaining shiurim and may we hear good things in the coming days- נזכה לראות בבנין ציון וירושלים
By An Anonymous Bergen County Resident
May Rabbi Bauman- Reuven Tzvi ben Menachem Yitzchak, z”l, himself a bringer of achdut and Kiddush Hashem, have an aliyah for his neshama.