Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, pgs. 24-26;
Vol. XVII, pgs. 12-15;
Sefer HaSichos 5750, Vol. I, p. 327ff
Within the Many One
Even a brief look at our people reveals a great heterogeneity, for there is hardly a country or a setting in which Jews have not lived. Jews have featured prominently in almost every major civilization and race, and in so doing have adapted themselves to these different environments.
Nor is it merely the settings in which our people live; the nature of the individuals themselves varies greatly. Our Sages comment that just as the faces of no two people are alike, so too, their thought processes differ.
This variety does not, however, obscure the fundamental oneness that links every member of our people in every country and in every age. Every Jew every man, woman, and child has a soul that is “an actual part of G-d,” and which permeates every dimension of his being. Of this people, G-d says: “I created this nation for Myself; they will recite My praise.”
Every Jew is heir to the entire spiritual legacy of our people. There is a golden chain extending throughout the generations, reaching back to our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, and to our Matriarchs Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, and Leah. Every Jew in the present generation is a representative of the entire collective as it has existed and evolved throughout history. As such, G-d cherishes every Jew as a father cherishes an only son.
Closeness with G-d
The unique love which G-d shows the Jewish people is reflected in the beginning of our Torah reading, which states: “And He called to Moshe, and G-d spoke to him.” Before G-d spoke to Moshe, He called to him, showing him a unique measure of endearment. G-d did not call Moshe to impart information; on the contrary, He called him to express the fundamental love He shares with our people. (For although it was Moshe alone who was called, this call was addressed to him as the leader of our people as a whole.)
The inner G-dly nature which we possess constantly “calls” to us, seeking to express itself. This is reflected by the subject of the Torah reading, the sacrificial offerings. The Hebrew word for sacrifice, korban (קרבן), shares a root with the word kerov (קרב), meaning “close.” Sacrifices bring the Jews’ spiritual potential to the surface, carrying our people and each individual closer to G-d.
The above concepts are fundamental when it comes to relationships with fellow Jews, even those whose conduct (at present) is estranged from our heritage. First and foremost, we must appreciate who the other person truly is. When speaking to a Jew, we must be aware that we are speaking to a soul that is “an actual part of G-d.”
There is no need to focus on the negative aspects of the other person’s conduct. Instead, one should highlight his positive potential, making him conscious of the G-dly spark within him. We must emulate the example provided by our Torah reading, and show our fellow man a special degree of closeness, inviting him to join in activities that encourage the expression of his G-dly core.
We should pursue this approach with confidence, for it speaks to the very essence of our fellow man. “No Jew can or desires to separate himself from G-d.” When he is invited to affirm his heritage with warmth and openness, he will respond, proceeding at his own pace to “come close to G-d.” Since he is part of the nation “created for Myself,” it is inevitable that he will ultimately “relate My praise” by following the path of Torah and mitzvos.
Seek the Silver Lining
There is a natural tendency to be impatient, to hasten a person towards complete observance of the Torah and its mitzvos, and perhaps to criticize him if he hesitates or falls back. The Torah does not approve of this approach. When Yeshayahu the prophet made harsh statements about the Jewish people, G-d rebuked him severely although his words were justified. Instead of being critical, we must endeavor to appreciate and always accentuate the positive qualities which every member of our people possesses. For indeed, the very fact of a Jew’s existence is an expression of G-d’s praise, independent of any Divine service which he may perform.
Despite the fact that the Jews are “one lamb among 70 wolves” and have faced severe persecution, we have endured while nations seemingly far greater and more powerful have disappeared. This clearly shows that G-d has invested a dimension of His eternality within His people. Our continued existence as a nation and as individuals is an expression of Divine Providence.
In the present age, every Jew is a living miracle.
This is particularly relevant today, barely a generation after the Holocaust. The fact that we were able to endure that terrible era and give birth to a new generation (regardless of any apparent spiritual shortcomings it may possess) reveals the working of G-d’s hand.
The G-dly potential within every Jew and within our people as a whole will not remain dormant. Its blossoming will lead to an age when the G-dliness latent in the world at large will become manifest, the Era of the Redemption. At that time, the Jewish people will “relate [G-d’s] praise” in a complete manner, showing our gratitude for the miracles performed on our behalf.
Herein we see a connection to the month of Nissan, during which Parshas Vayikra usually falls. Our Sages associate Nissan with miracles. Further, Nissan is the month in which the Jews were redeemed, and the month in which we will be redeemed in the future. At that time, our entire nation will proceed to our Holy Land and “relate [G-d’s] praise” in the Beis HaMikdash. May this take place in the immediate future.