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  • Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

What a chassedishe Yid did for me

Parshas Ked

oshim

When Reb Naftali of Ropshitz was a young child learning how to read, his melamed taught him that when the letter yud appears twice, it is read as Hashem’s Name. Later, when the young boy was reading from a siddur and came across two large dots (a colon) at the end of a verse, he read it as Hashem’s Name. “What did you just read? There’s no Hashem here!” In his innocence, the young Naftali asked, “Aren’t these the two yuds, which spell Hashem’s Name?” The teacher explained that only when two yuds are side by side do they spell Hashem’s Name, but not when one is above the other. Many years later, Reb Naftali shared the important lesson this incident taught him of ahavas Yisroel and humility. When two “yud’n,” i.e. two Yidden, stand side by side, humble and supportive of one another, Hashem’s Presence will also be found. But when one yud exalts himself over another yud, then, as his teacher taught him, “There’s no Hashem here.” Instead, it has the effect of a colon at the end of a verse: separation.

A hint to this, he explained, can be found in the sedra of Kedoshim. “You shall love your fellow as yourself. I am Hashem.” When one Yid loves another like himself, the outcome is, “I am Hashem.” Hashem is drawn down to dwell amongst us.[1] Not long ago, I spent several days in the PICU with my daughter. We arrived on Erev Shabbos and were admitted minutes before shkiah. Fighting the panic, I did my best to tune out the beeping machinery and to sing Kabalas Shabbos for my semi-conscious daughter. When I finished, I sat down to make Kiddush on two challos that my wife had managed to procure. A chaseedishe man walked into our room and, with a broad smile, wished me a git Shabbos. He and his wife were there with their baby who had just undergone surgery and he had come to offer me some of his grape juice and gefilte fish. We sat and talked for quite some time. We shared divrei Torah, he enlightened me about his community in Monsey and I spoke of Crown Heights. But most of all, we agreed that the very act of sitting together with another Yid had done wonders for both of our worried hearts. We parted with renewed strength and simchah. When two Yud’n sit together, Hashem is there too. We felt it. And, baruch Hashem, our daughter came home shortly after, in excellent health! As a result of modern-day travel and technology, the world has become a lot smaller. Yidden of all stripes and colors interact with each other more than ever before. These are opportunities for us to see beyond the ways in which we’re different, and bond with a fellow Yid. Let’s not let our differences create unnecessary barriers. We can be open to teaching and learning from every Yid. From the Yid who davens in my shul to the tattoo-bearing Yid on the airplane, our inner yuds are very much the same. With Hashem’s help, Yidden should meet under happy and healthy circumstances! Hashem’s waiting to join the meeting. Gut Shabbos, Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier [1] Parperaos La’Torah.

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