}

All Israel has a share in the World to Come…

So began my little speech at Friday night dinner. There were 17 of us assembled and it was quite the diverse crew. We had Leah, Kate, Sasha and Talya who were getting ready for the upcoming ROI Summit. We had some local Nachlaot spiritual hippy types, denominations from Orthodox to Reform represented, the unaffiliated, Orthodox lesbian activists, right wingers, peace activists including one woman who came on Birthright Israel last summer and then joined Birthright Unplugged in the West Bank – suffice it to say we were a diverse group that came together Friday night, after an eventful week, to enjoy a peaceful and yummy Shabbat dinner. Some of us had just marched in Jerusalem’s Pride Parade on Thursday, and all of us were mindful of the heating up Shabbat Wars related to the municipality’s opening of a parking lot on the Sabbath, much to the consternation (to say the least) of members of the Haredi community.

Our Shabbat dinner table however, was lively but peaceful. Sarah and Leah helped make Matbuchah which we will turn into Shakshuka come Sunday morning. In doing so they learned first hand of the perils of cleaning hot peppers by hand (sorry ladies!) and there was tons of yummy food for all. We went around the table and made introductions and when it was my turn, I quoted the first line of Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of our Fathers). Rashi commented on the line and wondered if it meant that all of Israel, by mere virtue of being Jewish, had a share in the world to come (or whatever the penultimate goal of Judaism is). That kind of didn’t make sense – why follow the laws then? What’s the incentive to be righteous? The answer was that the sentence isn’t meant to be taken literally. What it means is that when all the Jews are united, only then are they worthy of a portion in the world to come.

Gazing around our table, far from the anger and hatred on the streets of Jerusalem that only further divisiveness, I knew that we were, in some small measure, doing our part to merit inclusion in the world to come. As we sang our Shabbat songs, even those who didn’t know the words joined by tapping a beat on the table and I knew that we had managed to carve out our own slice of Olam Haba around our modest table.

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6 Comments

  1. Ben Atlas

    6/27/2009 at 7:26 pm

    Nice post. Is there any heilek b’olam haze left? Please let me know, I will come to claim it. And the olam haba will surely take care of itself…

  2. Vicki

    6/27/2009 at 8:56 pm

    Ck, thanks for this post. Reading it made me feel peaceful and hopeful for Jews all around the world and olam haba. Then I remembered the argument I had earlier this week about Noam Chomsky and how it almost came to fisticuffs, and I felt a little further away from olam haba. Especially because nice Jewish girls aren’t supposed to threaten to punch other Jews in the teeth.

  3. bittlerelly

    6/27/2009 at 10:56 pm

    this is probably my favorite thing you’ve posted in a long time. good work, sir.

  4. Mike Darnell

    6/28/2009 at 4:59 am

    1. You know I love you bro. As much as it’s up to me I’ll be saving a seat for you in both העולם ×”×–×” & העולם הבא

    2. Lobbing rocks and soiled diapers at police officers warrants slightly more than “consternation”

    3. Sadly it seems to me that as we move through time instead of להרבות בינה ודעת we somehow succeed in doing the opposite.

    Where is the wisdom and compassion of the sages of old?
    Whatever happened to ואהבת לרעך כמוך being the foundation of all wisdom?

    The Torah commands more respect for the Ger and the Toshav than the ministry of the interior and the ministry of defense put together. Sadly for a large part it seems that the voice of mainstream orthodox Judaism these days is far more concerned with maintaining its power than in doing God’s work…

    4. One of the funniest stories the kitchen wench mother of my bastard daughter tells is of a cook she once worked with who forgot he’d been handling chili peppers before he went to take a wizz. She says the screams from the men’s room curdled all the dairy produce in the kitchen…

    5. I’d like to suggest that you start putting in also the Hebrew lettering for the Hebrew you use in Jewlicious.
    “Hebrew, it’s a good thing”

    : )

  5. Ben-David

    6/28/2009 at 10:53 am

    the screams from the men’s room curdled all the dairy produce in the kitchen…
    – – – – – – – – – –
    … another good reason for circumcision.

  6. Leia

    6/30/2009 at 6:17 pm

    Beautiful Post and awesome pics!
    lovely, I so wish I had been there.
    The one of Sarah and Talya and their Rligious Legibians signs is a framer!

    Miss you David

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