Bringing Healing and Sholom to Jews Across the Globe
The son was so angry at his parents that he couldn’t forgive them. He was already an adult, living in a city far from his parents. He never spoke to them.
The parents were so angry at their son. They were not going to be the ones to apologize. The grudge lived on, each day adding a little more bitterness to each of their lives.
Tisha B’Av arrived. The parents decided to attend the World-Wide Event. In a city far away, the son also decided to attend the Event. The same words, spoken by Rabbi Ephraim Eliyohu Shapiro, entered their hearts: “The one who is mevater wins. Let bygones be bygones.” Over and over, Rabbi Shapiro hammered home his message.
Not knowing that his son had heard the very same message, the father decided that the time had come. The estrangement was too costly, turning what should be a joyful bond into a dark abyss. He arrived home, picked up the phone and called his son.
The son could barely believe his ears when he picked up the phone and heard the long-lost but familiar voice of his father. His heart began racing and tears sprung to his eyes. “Let bygones be bygones,” he heard echoing in his mind. This was what he had silently prayed for as he heard Rabbi Shapiro’s words.
“There’s been so much pain between us,” his father said softly. “We can’t undo what’s done, but I can tell you that Mommy and never wanted to cause you pain. And any pain we caused, we’re truly sorry for. We always love you and we just want to be a family again.”
The son forgave with all his heart and asked forgiveness for his own mistakes and misdeeds. In two households, the burden of years of strife lifted like a boulder off the top of a well. Now, the refreshing life-giving spring of love could flow.
As the father and son re-entered each other’s lives during that conversation, they both discovered the inspiration for their mutual move toward sholom. They had both heard Rabbi Shapiro’s words: Let bygones be bygones. Both had been where they needed to be, among thousands of fellow Jews at the Tisha B’Av Event, where inspiration and healing could finally hit home.
The Tisha B’Av Event has become a powerful force in healing rifts and stopping feuds in communities throughout the world. It is not only the inspiration for people torn by estrangement and machlokes to make sholom, but the actual venue for many of these reconciliations as well.
Gathering together with fellow Jews in 700 sites, in 16 countries around the world, gives special power to the speakers’ inspiring yet sensible words. People who have been harboring a little grudge have sought each other out after the event. Sometimes they say “I’m sorry.” Sometimes they just give that extra-friendly smile that lets the other person know the air is clear between them.
“Nowadays on Tisha B’Av, you can sit all day on the computer and watch speeches,” says one attendee. “But nothing brings home a real feeling of ahavas Yisrael like being together with other Jews, and knowing that all over the world, Jews are hearing the same words. There’s a real sense of purpose people have when they leave the Event.”
This year, that sense of purpose is summarized by the Event’s title: “Opening the Door: The Power of Ahavas Yisrael to Unlock the Geulah.” The message will be brought home in two different programs, each featuring world-renowned speakers.
Both programs will bring attendees the heartfelt words of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, the Philadelphia Rosh Yeshiva and Rabbinic Advisor of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, as well as the legendary Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, founder and dean of Migdal Ohr, an epicenter of Ahavas Yisrael located in Northern Israel.
Program A presents Rabbi Pesach Krohn, whose Maggid series sets the standard for storytelling that highlights the beauty of Klal Yisrael and the depth of the Jewish soul. His popular lectures, focusing on ethics and spiritual growth, attract large audiences world-wide;
Rabbi Yissocher Frand, long-time maggid shiur at Yeshivas Ner Israel in Baltimore. His powerful speaking style goes straight to the heart, awakening the audience to new levels of self-awareness and commitment to change.
Program B presents Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson, one of America’s greatest communicators of Torah and Jewish mysticism to audiences of all backgrounds. He delivers his passionate, fascinating lectures across the globe and serves as a teacher and mentor to thousands;
Rabbi Warren Goldstein, The Chief Rabbi of the Union of Orthodox Synagogues in South Africa and the Chief Rabbi of South Africa. His groundbreaking Kiruv work has brought a love of Torah and a positive Jewish identity to thousands of Jews in South Africa and beyond.
Through words, warmth and shining example, the programs are certain to open hearts and increase the flow of Ahavas Yisrael all around the world. But perhaps the most powerful inspiration is the feeling of being there, part of a gathering of Jews whose very presence expresses the longing to come together and finally reclaim the ties that bind us together as one family.