Thursday, March 16, 2006

To Love Your Fellow Jew ....

V'Ohavta L'Rayecha Kamocha

One of the first songs I remember learning in Day Camp had to be the "V'ohavta" song. Do any of you know it? It goes like this:

To love a fellow Jew, just the same as you, is the basis of our holy Torah. He may be far from me, across the widened sea. Still I'll always love him just same. For 70, 80 years. Our Neshama wears and tears, just to do a favor for another. Love him with all your heart ...

[UPDATE: I remembered the ending. ...the heavens spread apart, cause every Jew is really our brother.]



I can't remember the rest. Sorry, it's been a long time since camp. Treating people with dignity and respect is harder than it sounds. It's probably one of the hardest things to do. We were all created with such different personalities that so many times do we clash with each other. We all know someone who we can't stand. We all know someone who makes so irritated that we want to go off on them.

When I was in Yeshiva I remember learning that any bad that you see in someone else usually means you have a level of the same bad thing within you. I was never really sure that I agreed with that. There are many discussions that can be had on that statement. But there is a certain level of truth to it. We see things in other people that bother us, and in some way, it bothers us because we know we can be the same way sometimes.

It doesn't matter what we do in our lives with regards to our different approaches to Judaism. The most important thing is to learn to respect the other person. We may think we know everything, we may think we are the right one. We may wonder how someone else could be so blind. Still, the first step to loving your fellow Jews, is to respect them.

Without respect, there is no platform for debate.

There is another "Vohavta" song. I think it goes like this:

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend, and together we will walk in the way of Hashem.

31 comments:

Elf's DH said...

Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend

It's kind of funny that so many of us know this as an Uncle Moishy song. All of it except for the last phrase is a quote from Albert Camus.

psychotoddler said...

I learned it in NCSY.

Ahavas Chinum.

jake said...

funny. I know that song from my youth as well, although it recently came up in the context of an Uncle Moishy DVD that my daughter loves. I wrote this whole long rambling entry in my blog about the songs we learn in our youth, but I lost focus and was never really happy with the completed entry, so I pulled it. The only surviving tidbit of that entry is about the songs our parents sang to us that was a sidebar in the original entry: What Our Parents Knew: http://gimleteyes.blogspot.com/2006/03/what-our-parents-knew.html

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Gabriel said...

Hi! I've been looking for the lyrics to "V'Ohavta" ever since I've first heard it sung by the Yeshiva Boys Choir. I really love this song! I'm trying to make a choir with the pupils of a Hebrew School in Argentina and I'm gathering some material. As I understand this song is about Jewish brotherhood, so I think it's quite appropriate. Could anybody send me the words (in Hebrew characters) and the translation? My e-mail is: gabriel_gomory@hotmail.com
I'll be really thankful!