| The Moment |

Street Scene: Issue 955

Brotherhood spread at a velocity that hate could only envy

Photo: Flash90

The plethora of images and videos shared from Bnei Brak this past weekend articulated the story far better than words can. Protesters, most of them secular Jews, marched through Bnei Brak, blocking its main street, Rechov Rabi Akiva, and creating total havoc. Rather than staging a counter-protest, throngs of chareidim came out to meet their long-lost brothers and provided them with cholent, drinks, refreshments, and the warmest of greetings. Tears flowed where blood would have; brotherhood spread at a velocity that hate could only envy.

The throngs of people didn’t dissipate quickly. People milled around, confusion turning into gratitude on that street, the street named for Rabi Akiva. Could it be a coincidence? Do we believe in coincidences?

That would be a foolish thing to do.

Rabi Akiva, the one who categorized the commandment v’ahavta l’reiacha kamocha as the klal gadol batorah, the all encompassing mitzvah in the Torah. Rabi Akiva, who declared chavivin Yisrael, shenikrau banim lamakom — the Jews are cherished for they are called children to Hashem! Rabi Akiva, who cried out Ashreichem Yisrael — praised are you, Yisrael! Lifnei mi atem mitaharin, umi metaher eschem — before who do you become pure and who purifies you? Avichem Sh’Bashamayim! Your Father in Heaven! 

Somewhere, in a place directly near the throne of Avinu Sh’Bashamayim, the namesake of a street jammed with protesters surely smiled.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 955)

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