Achakeh Lo/Building Bridges


Building connections.  Between man and G-d and man and his fellow man.

I started my morning early at the Ohel, my meditation place, listening to the Rebbe’s fabrengen on tape.

As I was leaving, my son called from Yeshiva, several thousand miles away.  We had spoken a couple of times this week, and it was a bit hard, the elephant in the room is that it is always difficult to have a child away for the chagim/holidays.  Conversation had been a bit stilted.

So I answered the phone singing Ani Maamin/I believe, and he immediately chopped/understood and joined me and we sang two rounds of this song, and went into Avinu Malkenu/Our Father, Our King, act with us kindly for we have no real merits, and sang a few minutes more together, and there it was, the bridge was built and we had a beautiful real conversation about our hopes for Yom Kippur and the coming year.

Building bridges.  I have a client for 15 years, who says she is an atheist.  She is one of the most knowledgeable Jewish atheists I know.  She goes to an Orthodox shul almost every week nowadays.  She asked me to clarify the words in one of the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, she wanted to ensure that she was singing the prayer son correctly.  Singing the prayers connect her with a G-d, in which she says she does not believe…

My grandmother, who died last year at 101, had late onset macular degeneration, which blinded her a few years ago.  She would come to my home for Sukkoth and Pesach.  Everyone in the house would leave for shul, and it would be grandma and I.  One year, I decided to daven my hallel out loud and thought about what I could do to involve my grandmother in my prayers considering she was blind and could not read the words.  I decided to daven the entire hallel in a tune I knew she knew, Hatikvah.  And the entire hallel she hummed along with me to the tune of hatikvah.  Building connections, bridging gaps.

In this season of teshuvah repentance, where everyone relates to G-d in his/her own way, take the time to say something to G-d.  Hum a tune, say modeh Ani.  Take time from work and think about what you are grateful to G-d for.  Connect.  Bridge the gap.

Jonah is in the whale, he cries out to G-d, G-d responds.  The people of Ninveh are about to be destroyed, they repent and cry out to G-d, G-d responds.  Jonah wants to die in the heat of the day, G-d responds and gives him shade.  There is no escaping G-d, rather utilize G-d’s presence and ask what you need, big or small [even for the Jets to win more than one game this season…just saying.]

Achakeh Lo.  We wait for the messiah to come.  He is on one side of the world, we are on the other.  It is up to us to build the bridge to permit him to walk over to us.  Find a way, build a bridge, bringing redemption to all.


Gmar chasimah Tovah.


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