Monday, February 27, 2006

Lesson in Ahavas Yisrael...

I'm reading a very interesting book entitled Pilgrimage of a Proselyte by David Patterson

It's the journey of a Methodist College Professer that converts to Judaism and embarks on a very emotional pilgrimage from Auschwitz to Jerusalem.

There was one passage that really moved me....because it's something I'm guilty of, often..

It's on page 118..where he's expressing his deep unconditional love for his newly adopted Jewish brothers and sisters...

"That love I feel even for the obnoxious, annoying God-love-them Israelis on the flight from Warsaw. We sat on the ground for twenty minutes before taking off because a single seat had been assigned to two different people. Yes, there were other seats available , but this one Israeli-a man decked out in jewelry and all, in the latest fashion-insisted on having his seat. After rearranging the positions of about eighteen people he finally got his wish.
Then, once we were in the air, he and the other two dozen Israelis were out of their places and pacing up and down the aisles. I don’t think he spent more than fifteen minutes of the 3 1/2 hour flight in the spot he insisted on having. And, as if that were not enough, when it came time to land he took another seat!
It all reminded me of a comment Rav Steinzaltz made to me two years ago, when I told him I was studying for conversion: 'The hardest thing about becoming a Jew,' he said, 'is the Jews.'
But when I see a Jew who is less than Jewish, it only reminds me of how far I fall short myself."

Profound words to live by...