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ISRAEL

 
 
 
 

HIGH HOLIDAYS

 
 

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

High Holy Days 5773 Message
By: Rabbi Carlos Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
MWU Deputy - Director General & Director of Education


 

Kfar Maccabiah, Thursday, September 6, 2012

‏י"ט אלול תשע"ב

High Holy Days 5773 Message

 Dear Friends,

Rabbi Shlomo Carlibach shared, on one occasion, the following story:

 "Being a teacher, truly educating is an unparallel, unique and wonderful art. Therefore, having good teachers is of fundamental importance. The question is who is really a good teacher? I would like to now bring the answer that I have found closer to your hearts. While we tend to believe that a successful teacher is one who has his/her students disciplined, this is not the case. That kind of teacher will take the last remnants of joy from the children that they should be educating. A good teacher is someone who has “Good Eyes”.

Rabbi Carlibach knew how to create admiration, reverence, and empathy among those who listened to his teachings. However, at that time, those around him could not understand the meaning of his words. Rabbi Carlibach noticed the perplexity from those who attended his shiur, and decided to clarify the meaning of his message. His soul was joyous with love reigning around him. The Rabbi raised his voice, but nevertheless, creating an atmosphere of intimacy:

"I am going to reveal something amazing and deep; something I eagerly need to share with you. You know, dear friends that on Yom Kippur we are asked to forgive. This is so hard, my beloved children! We have so many scars in our souls! So many, many scars! Scars left after arguing and fighting with our spouses; scars made from the screaming at our children; scars as the product of our friends inconsistencies; scars with our co-workers... scars and more scars. We ask forgiveness of others and we concede forgiveness but there are always scars that disfigure our inner self."

 A deep anxiety marked the faces of the crowd that was listening to Rabbi Shlomo. All of them, without exception, had recognized their scars in their souls: the deeper still painful ones, and the superficial almost forgotten ones. The Rabbi realized that people were expecting some light on this issue - a way out of their pain. Without further delay, Rabbi Shlomo continued: "How can we erase the scars? Is there any way in which we can remove the marks of our soul? Yes folks, yes: there is a way. My children: even though you may believe it is impossible, there is a path that can remove the scars of the heart. It is simple: the scars can be removed using eyes of love: “Good Eyes”. We just need one person able to see us with good eyes, filled with love, to start the process of erasing our scars.

"Until we give love and receive love from others, until we learn to look at ourselves with good eyes, we will fail to clean our hearts that keep these ill-feelings. We will not be able to either condone nor promote forgiveness amongst others. We must begin to see each other differently. We must change our severe eyes for good eyes. We should inspire them to be so good, as the eyes of God. "

The eyes listening to Rabbi Shlomo filled with tears, and also with love. "There is hope for the suffering" they thought. "We have to promote to look at ourselves fondly, with an understanding and with Good Eyes."

We are near the Yamim Nora'im, the Days of Retrospection, of improvement and change, forgiveness and atonement, reconciliation and teshuvah. Our souls are more willing to recognize our success and failures, our virtues and miseries, our rises and falls, our actions and inactions, and our expressions and silence. These days awaken in us a spirit of greater solidarity, based on the humility and recognition of our human frailty, our imperfections, and our fallibility. We face our failures with sincerely contrite souls, moved by the solemnity of the Yamim Noraim and the traditional and heartbreaking melodies that are proper to this season. We evoke in us wistful memories of times of joy and sorrow, reflecting what happened in our hearts. Invariably, as if we had no alternative, we recognize the marks and scars of pain that the circumstances of life left in us hoping that some redemptive, radical act would be able to erase them. As those around Rabbi Shlomo Carlibach, we are eager to discover the formula to remove the scars of our hearts and from those we love and like them, we are perplexed to hear Rabbi Shlomo's  almost messianic answer: to develop in us good eyes.

What are Good Eyes towards others?

Good eyes are those which look at others with respect, recognize them as beings of equal value to ours in the Perfect Eyes of our Creator.

Good eyes are those which appreciate the uniqueness of each person - which leads us to be concerned for his/her fate and welfare.

Good eyes are those which prioritize love when we look at others, based on the desire to build and grow with each other and within one another, as well as affirming the need for us to share our lives with them.

Good eyes are those which look at others knowing that everyone makes mistakes, providing people with empathy, putting ourselves in their place, and trying to understand their circumstances.

Good eyes are those that have sincere concern for the problems of others, and develop within us a genuine solidarity of substance and not of form.

Good eyes are those which see the good that exists in people beyond their problems and defects.

God expects us to see others with good eyes, and to be able to receive the good eyes of others, thus granting forgiveness. This is much more complex than our kindly search for others ... but it is much more significant because it involves letting others dig out our marks and scars that have accumulated over the years.

In the same fashion that we should look at our neighbors kindly, we must learn to accept the good eyes of others upon us. We must begin a process where we can learn to forgive, once and finally, those around us. It is impossible to build a society of "good eyes" if we are not able to process the pain suffered, forgive, and put behind what belongs to the past - letting the good eyes of those who are closest to us lead our hearts and remove the scars caused by them or others.

What is the use of grudge and ill-feelings - the most violent type of scars that we have in our hearts? To where do they lead us? We have to learn how to repair the scars of our past, and re-build a better future: a future in which forgiveness will be a real closure to the issues that bring us the greatest share of our distress and our pain.

In addition to allowing the healing work of the good eyes of those around us, if we learn to look with our good eyes at our own hearts, we will then be able to eradicate some of the scars that live within us on our own. Without complacency and with kindness, we will embrace our spirits to detect the real causes of distress that haunt us, and we will work to resolve them by giving them a closure that will give us back the partially lost peace thus bringing us back to a brighter future, and a more positive connection to reality.

In these Days of Introspection, when we ask God to forgive us and to repair our souls with a sincere teshuvah, we must commit ourselves to improve our ways of looking towards others to transmit love - not hate; warmness - not coldness; solidarity - not indifference; and commitment - not distance.

If we succeed, our tomorrow will be marked by goodness; we will repair the damage - or some of the damage - in the crying hearts of those around us; love will multiply in real gestures of affection; we will extract from our dictionaries our derogatory expressions and merciless criticism, and approach to God and His Vision - always loving, always merciful - for a better world: a world in harmony, without traumatic scars.

May God grant that in 5773 we face our loved ones with “Good Eyes”.

May God enlighten us to reach significantly closer to our families and friends, strengthening our ties with those whom we love the most,

and who need us so much.

May God grant that this New Year 5773 will be full of blessings for ourselves and for all Humankind.


And may God grant us the continued joy of seeing the development, growth and strengthening of everything that we hold dear and value,

the State,  the People of Israel, and our Maccabim all over the world.

 With best wishes,

LeShanah Tovah ticatevu vetechatemu!

May you and yours be inscribed for a Good Year!

CHAZAK VE'EMATZ!

 RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO

Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

carlos@maccabi.org

 
 
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