There is a prayer that we recite near the end of every service that is known as the Aleynu. The prayer has been a controversial one at different times in history because it signals out the Jewish people as having a unique role and destiny in the world. That we be a light unto the nations by living a way of life rooted in the commandments and values of our Torah.
And while I do believe that we have played a unique role in history, it is the last part of the prayer that best expresses what we continue to bring to the world. The words are Bayom Hahu,“On that day the Lord shall be One and His name shall be One.”Implied in that declaration is our belief and vision that one day,humanity will be united in recognizing our commonality and our interdependence. The prayer implies that there will come a time when there will be one humanity living in peace.
It’s a vision that usually seems so distant, and yet during these trying days of the coronavirus, perhaps we have come to recognize a little more, our commonality with people throughout the world, as this virus does not distinguish between countries or religions or the color of one’s skin.
I received a letter as few days ago, and I’d like to quote just a few words as I think they speak to the Aleynu prayer and the current pandemic.
“Let us use this opportunity to transform what may appear as a ‘distancing’ and ‘isolating’ experience, into a connecting and unifying experience – a global unity revolution – uniting and bring us closer together than ever before, until we merit to see the personal and global redemption of the entire world.”
Bayom Hahu – would that we each help to bring about that time. In the meantime, I wish you a Shabbat of health, both physically and spiritually.