Zeev Schwartz
Executive Director, Torah MiTzion

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The theme to ‘Remembrance’ is central to the Yamim Noraim, The Days of Awe. But the Books of life and death that were opened this year are especially significant. This year will be written in the annals of history, and the plague we are experiencing will be spoken of for many years to come.

It is clear that something momentous is happening, on a global scale. It is becoming more and more clear that humankind has much less control and power over nature than we tend to feel. What is Hashem telling us? What does He want us to do?

We are becoming acutely aware of the danger of contamination from other people, and the adverse effect others can have on us. Corona is reminding us to hold back and protect our mouths – to take care what goes in and out.
We’ve learnt that there is no substitute for our homes and families. The ties and bonds we have built over time have become, more than ever, our source of stability and support. For years, we focused on being ‘outside’, on traveling and ‘getting away from home’. But this year, as we approach the holiday season, we are looking inwards, to our nuclear family. I feel the pain of those who are facing challenges within their families and those who have not yet established their own homes. This is a time to make more efforts to help them.
The Shofar blasts remind us also of our obligation to listen to others in distress. I believe that we all hear those calls for help from our less fortunate brothers. If we want Hashem to heed our prayers we must first internalize the call of the Shofar; we must hear and address the fears and worries of the other.

In Igeret HaRamban (which is recommended to read weekly), it is written:
“And be careful to read the Torah always, so you can fulfill it. And when you rise from (reading) your book – look to see if there is anything you learnt that you can fulfill. Examine you actions day and night and thus your days will be full of Teshuva”.
When we finish with a Siddur or a book, it is our obligation as Bnei Torah to ask ourselves, especially this year, ‘What did I just learn? What can I take from what is happening? What must I do Teshuva on?’
In a time of instability – we will create stability.

If we look at the situation as an opportunity, we will be able to grow from our current situation. It is within our power to decide how to capitalize on the opportunity we have been presented with. We can internalize the values of family and caring for others. We will learn to improve in these fields, to do what we need to do next year better.
As men and women of faith, we believe that HaKol LeTova – it is all for the best. I emphasize with those who were hurt and are suffering, but at the same time I feel the need to take advantage of the opportunity Hashem sent us.
How the years 5780-5781 will be remembered in the future depends also on us.

At the cusp of year 5781, as we enter our 25th year, Torah MiTzion is proud of our accomplishments to date.
Over the past 25 years, we have dispatched over 1,500 shlichim. They have learnt nearly half a million hours of Chavrutot with community members, gave 90,000 shiurim and arranged some 15,000 events with hundreds of thousands participants! Today we are proud to be active in 18 communities all over the globe – from Montevideo to Moscow and from Cape Town to Washington.

The impact our shlichim have over time and around the world is telling – more Jews who choose to learn Torah, more connection to Israel and more Aliyah.

comments: zeev@torahmitzion.org