In this week’s Parsha, Yisro, we arrive at Mount Sinai. The Torah points out that our arrival at Mount Sinai was distinctly different than all our other encampments. At every other encampment throughout our 40 year journey in the desert there was some degree of quarreling among our people. However when we encamped at Mount Sinai there was perfect unity. The reason for this was because at Mount Sinai HaShem revealed His entire greatness to us, to the extent that it was possible for us to comprehend, for the purpose of giving us His Torah.
Our Sages explain that HaShem’s Presence can be revealed to the people only when they are in state of perfection – Shleimus. This state of perfection can only exist when there is absolute unity.
In the very holy Book of Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs), King Solomon depicts the relationship between HaShem and His people as a man and his beloved wife. At one point in Shir HaShirim, the man refers to his wife as Shulamis. The commentaries explain that the name Shulamis is a derivative of the word shleimus which translates as perfection. HaShem chose us as His nation because we have the quality of perfection. However, this quality can only be achieved when there is unity within the nation.
Why should perfection be tied to unity?
To address this point let us attempt to define unity. When speaking about unity we often define it as a group of people who do not quarrel with each other and respect each other in a civil manner. However, that is not the unity that gives way to perfection. Perfection is achieved when every member of the group complements the other members. There is no single individual that is truly perfect; we all have our respective shortcomings. However, when every member of the group unites to complement and supplement the other’s shortcomings with their own respective qualities a union is created that allows for perfection. When we are united we have no shortcomings. We are prefect!
To further appreciate how unity achieves perfection let us observe how we create fabric from fibers. A woolen thread that extends 10 yards is composed of small fibers of which the longest one is no more than six centimeters. The reason we are able create such a long thread is because each fiber is closely wrapped around its adjacent fiber until all of those hundreds of thousands of fibers are interconnected together in way that they can stretch on forever. Once we have these threads we can now weave them into a fabric.
HaShem chose His people to be the fabric upon which He would rest. This most beautiful fabric is made of many threads and the threads are made of many fibers. The strength of the fabric depends on two qualities. It depends on the strength of the fibers and it depends on the closeness of the weave. The closer that the threads are woven the stronger the fabric will be.
Our nation is composed of 12 tribes and each tribe is composed of individuals. In order for HaShem’s people to create the necessary strength and beauty to contain HaShem’s Presence every tribe must be strong with each of their fibers closely interconnected with each other. And then all the tribes must be closely woven with each other to create the fabric.
In today’s society we continue to find ourselves composed of many tribes such as the Ashkenazi community, the Bukharian community, the Bakinski community, the Farsi community and so on. When all of our tribes are carefully woven and interact with each other the fabric is strong. However, within each community the individuals too must be interconnected with each other to insure the strength of each thread.
In practical terms this means that every member of our people needs to connect with another. We must support each other. When someone is down the other must lift him. The only way we can support the Presence of HaShem is when we support each other.
How fortunate we are that our very essence requires us to care for each other and live for each other!
Have a wonderful Shabbos.
p.s. To this end, Achim has undertaken an initiative to facilitate the opportunity that everyone can participate in supporting one another. We have named this initiative Shulamis following the cue from Shir HaShirim. For more information I invite you to visit us at achim.org.