Friday, August 08, 2014

showing up is the battle

Y’yasher kochachem to all who came out last night to protest and rally in front of the CNN building in NY: to people like Chloe Simone Valdary, who deserves a medal for bravery and courage; to people like Joe Hyman of, who spoke so eloquently and said what had to be said; to people like the 15-year-old Christian girl who on the spot volunteered to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the start of the rally; to gifted musicians like Ari Lesser, who flew across the country to be there;  to all the New Yorkers who took the time to come out in order to show their support for Israel and protest the media bias that infects our news.  There were many more speaker and performers and organizers who make stuff like this happen, all of whom deserve thanks. 

Are we going to change the way CNN covers the story in Gaza?  Probably not.  But that doesn’t excuse our not making the effort to get our side of the story out there.  If you had a time machine and could go back to 1938, wouldn’t you be writing letters to every newspaper about what was happening to the Jews of Europe, wouldn’t you be pounding on the door of every Congressman or Senator who would listen to you, wouldn’t you be holding rallies and protests everywhere and all the time?  Well folks, 1938 is not something we can turn the clock back on and do something about, but 2014 is.  If you haven’t gone to a rally, written to a representative in government, made your voice heard somewhere, somehow, what exactly are you waiting for?  How bad does ithave to get?

The old cliché is that showing up is half the battle.  When you need to ask for help for any worthy cause, Thank G-d in our community there is no shortage people will immediately take out a check book and ask who to make the check out to.  We are gomlei chassadim and know how to give.  And that’s important – whether it is for Israel or causes in our own communities.  But sometimes it’s not a check that’s needed, and here maybe we (myself included most of all) need a little chizuk.  Sometimes it’s showing up that is the battle.  It’s not hard.  You can just stand in the street -- holding a sign or banner is not m’akeiv -- and you don’t even have to stay until the end.  Open a sefer and learn.  Mingle through the crowd ask people if they want to put on tefillin like the three Chabad sheluchim did last night.  But be there.  We are so used to showing support by giving that we often don’t think about the many other opportunities we have to show support that are just as critical and crucial and which need our participation -- not just our dollars.

Rabosai, it’s time to show up.  I don’t know of anyone who is such a ba’al bitachon that they don’t seek medical help when ill.  I don’t anyone who is relies on G-d alone (not a parent, an in-law, or a wife’s salary) to pay their rent.  I don’t know anyone who thinks food will come to their table without their shopping in the supermarket.  As critically important as the tehillim and Torah are, we also need to make a hishtadlus.  G-d will help us get the job done, but we have to do our part as well.  It’s time for the rallies to not just have a few hundred people who show up, but to have thousands and thousands. 
Atem ha’me’at m’kol ha’amim” – we are outnumbered in terms of sheer population, but the number that really matters is the number of people who care and who make their voice heard.  Every single one of us can make a difference.   

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