Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael

What is your identity? For the Jewish people, religious or secular, Zionist or otherwise, our identity is that of acheinu, mishpacha. For those not as familiar with the Hebrew terminology, acheinu means brothers and mishpacha is family.

What this translates to is that it does not matter one’s personal experiences or life choices – being part of the Jewish people unites us all, despite our differences. We do not always see eye to eye, and that is okay. In fact, our disagreements highlight how strong our connection is.

There is a prayer called Acheinu (kol beis Yisrael) that we recite on Shabbos and other times to ask for HaShem’s watch over those in trouble and captivity. This is the core tefillah for the Israeli Defense Force.

אַחֵינוּ כָּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, הַנְּתוּנִים בְּצָרָה וּבַשִּׁבְיָה, הָעוֹמְדִים בֵּין בַּיָּם וּבֵין בַּיַּבָּשָׁה, הַמָּקוֹם יְרַחֵם עֲלֵיהֶם, וְיוֹצִיאֵם מִצָּרָה לִרְוָחָה, וּמֵאֲפֵלָה לְאוֹרָה, וּמִשִּׁעְבּוּד לִגְאֻלָּה, הַשְׁתָּא בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב.

As for our brothers, the whole house of Israel, who are given over to trouble or captivity, whether they abide on the sea or on the dry land: 
May the All-present have mercy upon them, and bring them forth from trouble to enlargement, from darkness to light, and from subjection to redemption, now speedily and at a near time. 

In our times of dispute and disagreement, just as the fissures of the world’s distress vents into anti-Semitic actions, we need to, now, more than ever, remember we are all mishpacha. Throughout history this has rung true, and it will ring true in the generations to come as well.

Daven for each other…

support each other…

have faith in each other.

We’ll never be the nation of priests or the people of the book that we aspire to be if we cannot first overcome our own divisions.