Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Max Roytenberg

Max Roytenberg: Elul - "I AM TO MY LOVER AS MY LOVER IS TO ME"

by Max Roytenberg July 31, 2013 Dublin

August 6th and 7th are the two days of Rosh Chodesh ushering in the month of Elul. Some see Elul as the acronym for “I am to my lover as my lover is to me”. Aside from the obvious affirmation of one lover to another, others see it, in this month before Rosh Hashana, as an affirmation of a Jewish person and/or of the Jewish people, of their relationship to God.

I see it in an even broader context of the “yiddishe neshoma”. I see it in what I believe is an innate component of the Jewish character, extended not only toward Jewish people, but to all people, that of kindness to all-a feeling of personal responsibility for actions likely to “repair the world”, even in small ways. Why are so many Jews involved in medicine, so many involved in charitable pursuits, so many paying close attention to familial responsibility, some at great sacrifice to their personal interests? And this out of all proportion to our numbers, relative to many other communities.

We are not unique in this, of course, but our prominence cannot be denied. An aspect of our “chosenness”? Our grounding in the “ethics of the fathers”, the ten commandments inaugurated in our writings? We can be, and are often criticised for our pretentions in this respect. What of that? These do not change the facts on the ground.

Look at our latest evolution! The State of Israel, a tiny country in area and population, beset with enemies on every side, is in the forefront of advances that ameliorate the human condition, whether in science or medicine or better ways of feeding the growing population of the world. We may have been forced to seek measures that advance our security, including the destructive power of our weaponry, but even these have evolved into new ways to better the condition of mankind (sic- lasers that permit the eradication of disease without surgery). Our occupation of the Sinai, surrendered in the search for peace, left a miserable Egyptian economy with energy resources they never had before. The industrial infrastructure built by Israelis in Gaza was purchased by Jews as a gift to the Palestinians when Israel abandoned the Territory to Palestinian self-rule.

We remain in a quandary. Why are good deeds met with calumny and threats of destruction? Why are we the sole nation condemned for efforts to defend ourselves, for seeking measures to ensure survival, openly targeted for destruction only seventy years after the most horrific example of depravity and immorality on a grand scale in human memory? It is a conundrum we live with. It is one we must continue to cope with.

Through this we must continue to find ways to love ourselves even with our many faults and weaknesses, for we are good people, despite the occasional Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Bugsy Seigel.

" ani l'dodi v'dodi li”




<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • Fillmore Riley
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Winter's Collision Repair
  • Gray Academy
  • Coughlin Insurance
  • Joyce Rykiss
  • CHW
  • Cantor's Meats
  • JCFS
  • Esther and Sid Halpern Shana Tovah
  • GTP
  • Jim Muir
  • Booke & Partners
  • Sobey's
  • Commercial Pool
  • CDN Visa
  • Jack & Debbie Lipkin
  • Daniel Friedman and Rob Dalgliesh
  • Rady JCC
  • The Bob Silver Family
  • Carol and Barry McArton
  • Shindico
  • D'Arcy & Deacon LLP
  • Shinewald Family
  • Piston Ring
  • Bruce Shefrin
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Fair Service
  • Eddie's Gravel Supply Ltd.
  • John Bucklaschuk
  • Tyler Bucklaschuk
  • Kromar Printing
  • Daien Denture Clinic
  • Bob & Shirley Freeman
  • Protexia
  • Ixtapa Travel
  • Superlite
  • Brent Schacter Sora Ludwig
  • Dr Ted and Harriet Lyons
  • Amalgamated Drywall Systems Ltd.
  • Josef Ryan
  • Munroe Dental Centre
  • Chisick Family
  • Broadway Law Group
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Dakota Chiropractic Office
  • Maric Homes
  • Artista Homes
  • Southwynn Homes
  • Tradesman Mechanical
  • Imperial Soap
  • Winnipeg Drapery
  • JCFS
  • Western Scrap Metals Inc.
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Jim Gauthier
  • Capital Grill
  • CVA Systems
  • Stella's
  • Chochy's
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Dr. Gary Levine
  • Fetching Style
  • Lazar Family
  • Dr. Marshall Stitz
  • Michel and Danita Aziza and family
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Dimensions Insurance
  • HUB
  • Doheny Securities Limited
  • Orthodox Union
  • Allan Davies
  • City Sheet Metal
  • John Orlikow
  • Ross Eadie
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Winnipeg Prophecy Conference
  • Thorvaldson Care
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Total Lighting Sales
  • Miller's Super Valu Meats
  • Pitblado
  • Cavalier Candies
  • Erickson Motors
  • Canadian Magen David Adom
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Elaine and Bernie Lofchick & family
  • Cascade Financial Group
  • Sorrento's
  • Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem
  • East India Company
  • Nikos
  • Sean Fisher
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.