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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Torah, to quote the song we learned as kids for this Yom Tov, came and brought us liberty. It gave us a set of basic rules, the Aseret Hadibrot, and then Hashem said, as He held Har Sinai over our heads: Now you have breirah chofshi, you get to make your own choices; you get to be responsible and accountable for your own actions.

It is interesting that Shavuos comes after we spend seven weeks mourning the deaths of Rabbi Akiva’s students—who died because of sinat chinom—senseless hatred. And we all know the ultimate result of all that mayhem was the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash and Galus.  But that doesn’t seem to stop Jewish people, Jewish organizations and Jewish political parties from stopping the hate, slandering and libeling each other with impunity, while major Jewish leaders in the haredi world constantly tell their followers that the rest of the Jewish people are not even Jewish. Worse than that, we are heretics.

Hashem certainly gave these great Talmudic scholars and leaders, as well as the rest of us, free choice. It’s a pity that the idea of Torah liberty, in the weeks leading up to Shavuos, is for all of us to spread more sinat chinom against our fellow Jews without a modicum of respect for the pintele Yid in every one of us.

We were all there. We all said Naaseh ve Nishma—We will do and we will hear.

When did we all go stone deaf?