An event is going to be held on Friday called The Day of Jewish Unity, where Jews around the world are encouraged to pray together to combat the tumultuous times we live in and heal the wounds of the partisan tribalism infecting the populace. The Daily Wire has you covered on the details of the event and how it can help our political discourse going forward.
Here are five things to know about the Day of Jewish Unity.
1. Acheinu, an organization that teaches people about the way of Judaism and the Torah, is organizing the event. They are urging Jews to pray at some point between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday and recite Psalms 20 and 130, which ask for God to protect us and redeem us from our sins. People from all faiths are welcome to join in the prayer.
2. The idea is that the power of prayer will help create “peace and unity.” As explained on The Day of Jewish Unity’s website, “In times of crisis, the Jewish nation has historically turned to prayer for help. With the daunting uncertainty surrounding the well-being of our people and homeland, our prayers are needed more than ever.”
Here is an interesting perspective on prayer: (H/T: Chabad)
The Hebrew word for prayer, tefillah, means “self-judgment” and “introspection.” Prayer is meant to be an introspective process. The reason why we pray is not always to change what G‑d had intended for us, but for us to get a better picture of true reality. We might enter the prayers thinking about all that we need and want, but we are meant to finish the prayers with a new realization of all that G‑d does for us and how little we may actually deserve.
A person who experiences prayer this way, as it is intended to be experienced, will finish off his prayers as a very different person than he began. The person who began the prayers (as a selfish, self-oriented individual) might not have really deserved what he was asking for, but the new person who concluded the prayers (as a thankful, grateful and more spiritual being) might now deserve it. In this way our prayers are actually answered, because we change in the process, and any negative decrees are then naturally averted.
In other words, the hope is that through prayer, people can come to the realization of what they can each to do to help improve the toxic nature of our political discourse.
3. In addition to prayer, The Day of Jewish Unity requests that people refrain from engaging in gossip. Public Relations Specialist Josh Nass explained that the evil nature of gossip destroys “business relationships, political affiliations and families.”
“You may have stopped whispering the rumor to your friend, but that rumor still exists and will likely continue to pass from person to person,” wrote Nass. “Not only does it not end, but gossip can snowball and change form. Anyone who has ever played the child’s game ‘telephone’ knows this.”
4. The Day of Jewish Unity falls on the anniversary of Rabbi Yisroel Meir HaKohen’s death on the Hebrew calendar. HaKohen, known as the Chofetz Chaim, is a revered figure for his work in sharing his knowledge on Judaism and how the religion’s laws should be followed. His “Chofetz Chaim” name is derived from these lines in Psalms 34: “Who is the man that desires life (chofetz chaim) … keep your tongue from evil. …” The Chofetz Chaim wrote extensively about the evils of gossip and claimed that any gossip, even if it’s benign, is not to be tolerated.
5. The Day of Jewish Unity has inspired two non-Jews into writing an op-ed stressing the need for rational dialogue. Harlan Hill, a supporter of President Trump, and Danielle McLaughlin, a liberal commentator, penned a joint op-ed on Fox News.com explaining how important The Day of Jewish Unity’s message is.
“The Jewish world is an apt metaphor in many ways for our country: There are various groups and subgroups who have different beliefs and agendas and who often are at odds with one another,” wrote Hill and McLaughlin. “And yet, these groups are able to put aside their disagreements to come together in peace and prayer. We knew we could too.”
They added that good policy stems from the ability to have “a civil conversation.”
“Though we are not Jewish, we will be participating in the Day of Jewish Unity. Similarly, we ask you to engage in a positive and civil conversation with someone from across the aisle,” Hill and McLaughlin wrote. “Just try it; you may be surprised at how much you have in common.”