Linda Pardes Friedburg
Russian-speaking American Israeli Community-building Mom

Yonatan Habakkuk – Keeping our priorities straight

Yonatab Habakkuk, Hy"d (Courtesy of family)

Dear friends,

Look at the photo above of Yonatan Habakuk, Hy”d. He lived completely outside the box. He loved God and strove to bring joy to people.

He did this every day in his garage, fixing people’s cars – giving discounts, forgiving people who couldn’t pay on time, helping out for free whenever needed, and calling everyone – “Achinu”.

Not just the common expression “Achi”- “my brother,”  but “Our brother” – from one family, children of the same God. His nickname was even “Achinu.”

He died protecting scores of his brothers and sisters, by wrestling with the axe-wielding murderers who came to kill as many Jews as possible, in the Elad amphitheater on motzei Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Sivan Rahav Meir wrote about Yonatan, in connection with the word “brother” that repeats itself so many times in this week’s Parasha – Behar.

“Do not wrong your brother”…”if your brother becomes destitute…”

“You shall not take from him interest or increase, and you shall fear your God, and let your brother live with you.” (Vayikra 25)

The amazing focus of this Parasha is shmita – letting go of control over your land and possessions because they are really God’s – and shifting our focus to the needs of the poor and the people who depend on us.

And therefore Parshat Behar opens with Shabbat of the land – Shmita – and closes with the Shabbat we meet every week – “and My Shabbatot you shall keep”, all to remind us that He took us out of Egypt and gave us the Land so that we treat one another as brothers, not slaves, and serve only Him.

May we learn from Yonatan’s pure love for God and humanity.

Shabbat shalom.

About the Author
Linda Pardes Friedburg made Aliyah from New Jersey in 1990. She is Founding Director of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli National Jewish Leadership Initiative for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis, is grateful for her six kids and one Belarussian husband, and still feels the need to pinch herself every time she drives up the hill to Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, their home since 1994. EMERGENCY UKRAINIAN/RUSSIAN NEW OLIM CAMPAIGN!
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