E Pluribus Unum — The Power of Many is Solidarity

I’m sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight. Different thoughts weave through my mind.

The past few days have been a whirl. Busy. Things going on all around me. Meeting friends. Eating food. Saying lechayim and of course following it up with a shot or two or three or….you get it.

Taking pictures of course. Not to mention the most amazing picture seen around the world. A privilege only a few thousand have and for which I’m thankful to the Rebbe to be a part of as well.

Workshops and learning periods. Davening in 770 by the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s holy office from which Torah and guidance emanated round the world for so many years.

Yet I wonder as I sit at the gate, is it only that? Is it all these “things”, spiritual and material, that makes up this whole special weekend which the Rebbe initiated over three decades ago? Is it merely this? Is it not enough to be satisfied with the spiritual upliftment and be done with it? So, why do I feel like something is missing? Why does this alone leave me cold?

Sometimes we “lose the forest for the trees.” The “main thing is missing from the book”! You get caught up in it all, become complacent and you forget what the Rebbe really demanded and wanted from his Shluchim when they get-together and caucus far-away from their communities and families.

One senses it’s not about simple enjoyment or a week of vacation and exhilaration. It’s about going back home with renewed vigor and energy. It’s about taking on another year and vaulting past the previous year and goals. The Rebbe said as much!

The Rebbe explained the purpose of his idea and support for an annual convention was to spend time together in maximum and total unification with fellow Shluchim. As the Rebbe declared when he began this unique project: “Each man his friend should assist and to his brother he should say ‘be strong’!”

In other words not only is it a time for togetherness but to plug into it and absorb the togetherness and its energy year-round.

In this week’s Parshat Toldot one sees throughout the consequences of discord and disconsonance. Esau wanted nothing to do with unity. He was about self-promotion, self-gratification, power and despotism. Yet, Rivka, his own mother, who understood this better than anyone else, chose to bring her younger son to prominence and success. It would be fraught with trial and tribulation but in the end she knew Jacob had the mettle for the upcoming crucibles in his life.

Why? Because Jacob was the mirror opposite of his twin brother Esau. He was everything Esau was not. He was humble, unobtrusive, truthful, wholesome and a unifier. He knew the power of unification and symbolized its rewards. Namely, sowing the seeds of the future Firstborn and only covenantal nation of G-d. A nation which unlike any other puts a premium on Ahavat and Achdut Yisrael for its existence. It becomes a pillar of strength and can defend this nation against all odds.

This is the underlying theme of the annual Shluchim convention and what each shliach must take home with him. He must remember he’s not alone. He’s part and parcel of a huge and powerful machine ignited and well-oiled by our Rebbe. Stick to it and make sure you never dislodge from it and you’ll conquer the world with the energy and power being pumped into you. With that in mind you’ll fulfill and realize the Rebbe’s wish and dream of being a cog in the army that brings the Redemption through our righteous Mashiach.

I hope I soaked it in and will have what it takes to spread it out now that I’m home alone.

About the Author
Graduate of the Rabbinical College of Greater Miami and Central Lubavitch Yeshivah in NY. Rabbi in Hollywood, FL leading its community as the Chabad Emissary and member of Florida Friends of Lubavitch for over 25 years. "Father and grandfather is something I'm most proud of and strive to get better."
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