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  • The Downside of Democracy

  • Ruchy

    June 4, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I wrote this piece a while ago and pulled it out now, as I thought it fit in nicely with the
    current situation.

    The sun sends its first rays down on the New York City streets. A broad figure strolls along
    the pavement; his tzitzis fluttering in the breeze; his wrinkled hands clutching his tefillin bag.

    Shmuel follows the winding streets, the feeling of freedom rushing through his blood. He
    can proudly hold his tefillin bag; no longer disguise it under his shirt. He allows his tzitzis to
    fly in the wind; without tucking it into his trouser. He experiences the feeling of a true living
    jew. Yet, this sense of liberty burns his soul. It hurts him.

    He nears a tall building. Its beige and brown cemented bricks stand proud and erect. No
    longer do they shrivel to hide, or strengthen themselves to stand against hardships. They
    are glad to serve their true purpose and absorb the sweet sound of Torah. Shmuel nears the
    Shul building, his heart growing with excitement.

    He pushes the towering doors forward, and walks right through, entering the prayer room.
    Sights of about 70 black and white clad men meet his eyes. But one individual strikes out,
    his blue eyes glisten and his face is shining. He is radiant and glowing; today he is celebrating
    the Bris of his first-born son. For Shmuel it is equal excitement – his first grandchild – a large
    celebration. As he sees his son stand over this perfect newborn, embraced in white lace, his
    eyes begin to tear. Through his blurred vision he sees the Mohel stand over the little boy. He
    hears the name being called……Yisroel Mordche Ben Moshe Zev……A burst of “Mazel tovs”
    erupt. A jazz of excitement is felt.

    Amidst the entire hubbub Shmuel, the grandfather, sits down. He envisions himself in the
    position of his son, celebrating his first son`s Bris. Yet it was so different; unique. He sees
    himself in the dark Russian night, quietly embracing his little bundle, creeping down the
    wooden steps to the cellar. He clearly remembers the group of just ten brave men. The fear
    was tangible. With racing nerves and quick heartbeat, the Bris was performed successfully.
    A release of tension was felt, together with immense gratitude to Hashem for enabling this
    mitzvah to take place. He remembers the appreciation and excitement that enveloped him,
    unlike many others who unfortunately were held back from doing this special mitzvah.

    As he watches his son perform this act, in the open, his heart cries. The irony hurts him. Is
    his son truly thankful that he managed to perform the Bris of his son with such ease?

    Shmuel feels that today, due to the democracy, there is less appreciation. In communist
    Russia every mitzvah he performed was with such excitement, such happiness, and so much
    gratitude. Even though he performed less mitzvos he treasured each and every one.

    Do we too have this feeling nowadays?

    This is the freedom that hurts him, the freedom that we take things for granted. Unlike the
    jews in communist Russia who proudly valued every small mitzvah because for them it
    wasn`t easy, it was a sacrifice!

  • riva pomerantz

    June 4, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    This is very moving, Ruchy. Thank you for sharing! This reminds me of the pasuk, וישמן ישורון ויבעת. Very interesting point to contemplate.

  • HappiWriter

    June 4, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    beautiful! so true!

  • Sury

    June 4, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Love it! What a strong message and so impressively written.

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