Susan Barth
Advocate for Marriage Education in Israel

What should I say to my grandson?

When at 5 years old he asks the naïve question “Savta and Saba coming?”

And of course in our “mature” voice, we can explain “No there is a Lockdown.”

But the question begs for a soul searching answer.

Perhaps Rashi has the Answer

In this concluding portion of the Bible, Vezot Haberachah, one line reads as follows:

“And He was a King in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, The tribes of Israel together.”

Rashi, the classic commentator of the Bible, born almost exactly 900 years ago, comments of the phrase as follows:

“He is their king; but NOT when there is strife among them.” (Siphre)

The ONE word which Dominates the Headlines

One does not have to read further than the headlines of this online publication, nor any others and see that there is one word that is dominating the news. And that word is PROTEST.

The upcoming holiday of Sukkot is meant to be the most joyous on the heels of Yom Kippur, and yet even this holiday is marred by the necessity of issuing fines to punish those who want to celebrate in another person’s Sukkah- a normal occurrence in other years.

For all the Grandchildren’s sakes…

If ever there was a time for the reduction of strife it is NOW. The month of Tishri is  replete with the most Jewish festivals.

It is also a time when each of us can contribute to the removal of the Lockdown – by simply eradicating the necessity – and complying with the Health Ministry rules and regulations and bringing an end to the Lockdowns.

The words “Protest and Strife” needs to be replaced by the commitment to shalom. It is interesting that in the Siddur of the Arizal, among the first sentences of the Morning Prayer are the words, “I hereby take upon myself to fulfill the mitzvah, “Love your fellowman as yourself.”

It is time to heed the words of Rashi, and then I know what to answer my grandson – and why – because just by my physical presence back in his life, I gave him the answer.

About the Author
Susan Barth is founder and director of Israeli non profit Together in Happiness/B'Yachad B'Osher, promoting stronger, healthier marriages impacting Israeli society. A Project Management Professional (PMP) and businesswoman from the US, Susan sponsored and chaired the First International Conference on Marriage Education in Israel (attended by over 360 professionals) in Jerusalem in memory of her parents and launched I-PREP, an innovative marriage education curriculum. On November 8, 2017, Together in Happiness co-hosted with MK Yehudah Glick a historic Knesset seminar promoting government support for pre-marriage education
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