Words for Rosh Hashana - Zeev Schwartz, BA Secretary General
As we approach Rosh Hashana there is added importance to taking time out to assess where we are standing, where we are coming from and what direction we are going in.
This is the power behind Teshuva, a process of awareness that enables you to change and be changed!
This is obviously the responsibility of every individual but should also be adopted by a group, community or even the entire nation.
Just like the Teshuva process, we believe that there is a powerful way of looking at and running your life - that of "Chalutziyut'' , which basically means ''pioneering''.
Is pioneering only a part of history or can one be a pioneer today?
What created opportunities for chalutziut in the past?
Is it only relevant when a particular opportunity arises or is it a way of life and a way of thinking?
I truly believe that pioneering is a way of life.
It is a crucial ingredient for translating our inner beliefs into action.
Not just to dream but also to realize.
Not just vision but actual steps forward - in all the different spheres of our lives - where we live, how we live and what we do for a living.
One should strive to work in a profession that would be beneficial to the needs of greater society, obviously according to one's abilities. There were times when agriculture (kibbutz) was the way to go and there are times when the military is a priority.
Industry, Education , Welfare -every generation has its needs.
I humbly believe that one should really take this seriously into account.
I was recently asked what my opinion is about the pitchfork in the Bnei Akiva emblem.
In true pioneering fashion the pitch fork was the means to develop the land,
- to work by ourselves, for ourselves.
Today that fork can be any tool that will enable us to initiate/create or develop according to the needs of modern frontiers - a scalpel, a mouse - all for the betterment of society.
In choosing a place to live many a consideration may arise such as work, family and friends. Yet there are also other considerations such as security needs (the Golan), areas of national priority (the Galil), developmental areas (the Negev) and strategic choices of actually living amongst those who are different to you, that may enable the unification and strengthening of our society (Tel Aviv).
Living in Israel goes without saying. We are currently promoting making Aliya within the framework of a Garin whether it is to a development town (e.g. Lod) or to a new settlement (Mizrach Lachish). In this way you have the opportunity to support each other while together supporting others.
This passuk from Pirkei Avot (2:6) sums up Chalutziyut in the best possible way:
ובמקום שאין אנשים השתדל להיות איש
In a place that there are no other people, try to be a person
(At least TRY!)
Obviously there is no one clear answer to this, but if you place yourself in an area where there are needs to be fulfilled then you can definitely be the one to do something that has not yet been done. If we have the best intentions of Chessed, we should not take thoughts of ''how can I help more'' or ''where can I volunteer'' for granted.
How do we spend our time and what do we do with it, when we are committed to fixed Torah learning times?
Its not enough just to be religious/dati.
What does it mean to be a Ben Torah?
How do we and should we behave?
Will we choose to be instrumental in setting up a shiur or a beit midrash?
As we embark on our journey, not only in search of Teshuva but also in search of our place and position as a true Pioneer/Chalutz, we should always be aware of what impact we are going to have as individuals, as a community and as a people. And we must not forget our own families. Too often we find ourselves running out to solve the problems of the world and divert our attention from what we have at home.
This coming year we in Bnei Akiva will celebrate 80 years since the founding of our youth movement, established and developed on the ideology of Torah Ve Avoda.
Is Bnei Akiva ideology still the same today?
Is that pioneering spirit still pumping in our veins?
Are we a youth movement with young leadership serving as role models to this way of life?
These powerful questions should be related to from different angles:
In relationship to:
· ME as an individual
· OUR derech as a Movement
· its impact on THOSE around us.
Good luck with the soul searching process!
Bevirkat Chaverim leTorah veAvoda
Ketiva veChatima Tova