When that certain blaring tone is heard in the hospital halls, when the screens are broadcasting those ominous words “Code Blue,” I drop everything and hurry. As the on-call student chaplain, I’m part of the emergency team that responds to a patient who’s not breathing. By the time I anxiously arrive, the docs are working the patient, shocking the heart or whatever’s called for. We take a deep breath as they finally exclaim, “I’ve got a pulse!”

Another one of my chaplaincy tasks is seeing patients with CHF, or Congestive HeartI’ve become hypersensitive to the urgency of cardiovascular health Failure. Some can be stabilized and have a good prognosis, thanks to modern medicine’s repertoire of miracles; while others are weak, on oxygen, with a pallid complexion, being held together with a variety of machines, devices, surgeries and medicines. It’s painful to walk into their room and see the mixture of hope, fear and sometimes despair in their eyes.

So I’ve become hypersensitive to the blessing and urgency of cardiovascular health. Sitting on a recent Shabbat morning, reading the daily Tanya portion and enjoying a cup of tea, the words jumped out with an immediacy. The text metaphorically compared the Shechina, the Divine indwelling presence, to the heart, and Klal Yisrael, the Jewish people, to the organs.

As I read on, I started trembling and tearing up. The message would have been powerful any day, but events happening that particular Shabbat morning gave it extra relevance.

“Wow, we’re learning this today of all days,” I thought.

“Of course, we’re learning this today!” The Tanya has this way of showing up at exactly the right moment, sneaking up on you with its holy potency.

Those moments of precision Divine Providence are indescribable; they are something like an awesome humbling exhilarating delicate feeling of being touched by Hashem’s whisper. A moonbeam. A molecule of shining light. A tremulous bubble of infinity. A whisper you don’t want to shatter or crush, but reverently cherish, cup your hands carefully around it.

That particular day was in many ways like Yom Kippur, resonating deeply, revealing essence. On Yom Kippur, the complacency and draw of everyday life, the obscuring veil of “I don’t wanna go to shul; I’m too busy, too tired, not in the mood, it’s too boring” becomes more transparent. We just feel our soul a bit more.

On that particular Shabbat, of this unusual Tanya portion, synagogues and temples were packed. It was a special Shabbat of Unity. When we’re challenged—in Israel, in our homes or elsewhere—Jewish hearts are aroused; we’re drawn together. Jews stand together in grief, in solidarity, hope, determination, resilience. The Jewish heart was pulsing. In pain, yes, gasping for breath, but pulsing pulsing heartbeat racing, face flushed. Many thousands were magnetically pulled there. Standing shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, essence to essence.

And in this 200-plus-year-old text, neatly divided into daily portions, here’s what just happened to be the section for that day.

The text is in bold, commentary in italics: “According to these words and this truth, which is impossible to explain properly in writing, the Shechinah (Divine Presence) is referred to as the ‘heart’ and the souls as ‘organs.’ This teaches us that when all the souls are attached and bound together, the circulation and flow of life-force and of the effluence from the Shechinah to the worlds and from the worlds back to the Shechina is continuous.”

“Thus, it is written, ‘You are standing from this day, all of you, before the L‑rd your G‑d.’ The verse specifies ‘all of you,’ i.e., a situation in which all Jews stand united together. This can take place only when there is a sense of unity between all the levels, which the verse goes on to say, From your heads ... to your water carriers and hewers of wood.’”

When we join together, we heal. Not just ourselves, through the power and solace of sharing pain through community. It does feel so good to be together, to mourn and keen after loss. To resolve and move forward. That deep strength we feel is real. Which is why that particular Unity Shabbat was not unique. After an attack in the States, abroad, in our homeland; in times of duress; to beg for blessings for a sick community member ... we gather. When we’re in need, we’re drawn towards each other.

Racheli Frankel, the mother of one of the three teenage boys kidnapped and brutallyIn times of duress, we gather murdered by terrorists in the summer of 2014, spoke of those days. “The overwhelming support from so many diverse people gave us strength, gave us hope, showed a light at a time of extreme darkness. The Haggadah talks about those who rise to destroy us. An important interpretation is, they can only rise when we’re she’lo echad bilvad/‘not one alone.’ In other words, when we’re not standing together in the incredible singular unity, such as we experienced that summer.”

But more: We heal G‑d. The Shechinah is in exile, our sages teach. We open up any blocked arteries, scrape away accumulated plaque in this cosmic cardiovascular system.” Our unity opens the flow of energy between G‑d and us, between G‑d and His precious creation.

Our challenge, our need is to find ways of living from this place voluntarily, not only in times of tragedy or challenge. To dig and build and find ways to keep that essence, that pulse of essential vitality that unity creates, that touchstone of oneness, as the driving force of our everyday lives and modus operandi.