Serve the Almighty with joy, come before Him with singing" (Psalms 100:2).
The verse is recited daily in the morning prayers. But we have to internalize its message. Repeat this verse as often as possible, while thinking about what it means and how you can apply it.
This is especially important for a person with a tendency towards sadness. A sad person mentally repeats hundreds of sad messages a day. Repeating a verse with a positive, joyous message will serve as a good counter-balance.
A group of prominent Orthodox rabbis in Israel, the United States and Europe have issued a historic public statement affirming that Christianity is "the willed divine outcome and gift to the nations" and urging Jews and Christians to "work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era."
"Jesus brought a double goodness to the world," the statement reads. "On the one hand he strengthened the Torah of Moses majestically" and on the other hand "he removed idols from the nations," instilling them "firmly with moral traits."
This year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the declaration issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, which marked a watershed in Jewish-Christian relations.
In language unusual for its day, Nostra Aetate stated that "God holds the Jews most dear," stressed the great "spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews," and condemned "hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone."
Now, a group of Jewish leaders has responded in kind, expressing their desire to accept "the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters."
"Christians are congregations that work for the sake of heaven who are destined to endure, whose intent is for the sake of heaven and whose reward will not denied," the text reads.
The statement bears the title, "To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians," and is signed by over 25 prominent Orthodox rabbis, who invite fellow Orthodox rabbis to join in signing the statement.
"Now that the Catholic Church has acknowledged the eternal Covenant between G-d and Israel, we Jews can acknowledge the ongoing constructive validity of Christianity as our partner in world redemption, without any fear that this will be exploited for missionary purposes," it says.
Echoing recent words by Pope Francis, the document states: "We are no longer enemies, but unequivocal partners in articulating the essential moral values for the survival and welfare of humanity."
"Neither of us can achieve G-d's mission in this world alone," it says.
According to Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, one of the statement's initiators, the "real importance of this Orthodox statement is that it calls for fraternal partnership between Jewish and Christian religious leaders, while also acknowledging the positive theological status of the Christian faith."
"This proclamation's breakthrough is that influential Orthodox rabbis across all centers of Jewish life have finally acknowledged that Christianity and Judaism are no longer engaged in a theological duel to the death and that Christianity and Judaism have much in common spiritually and practically. Given our toxic history, this is unprecedented in Orthodoxy." said Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, Academic Director of CJCUC.
"I feel bad for the embarrassment Steve Harvey is going through right now… He's a nice guy and I really enjoyed being on his show last year….of course $3000 made me like him even more!" – Rabbi Noach Muroff
Why did Joseph attempt to "restrain himself?" Apparently, he sensed that the reconciliation was incomplete. What was missing?
It would seem that the effects of sinas chinom are so all-encompassing that only exile, in which all Israel suffers together, can wipe them out. Ultimately, as we said above, sinas chinom is a rebellion against G-d. Perhaps, in the case of such a general rebellion, all Israel together have to repent and return to Him in contrition. Perhaps Joseph sensed this. Clearly, even he was powerless to go any further. Only the Egyptian exile would suffice. And exile was coming!
Similarly, it would seem that the exile we experience today is the rectification for the sinas chinom that led to the destruction of the Second Temple (Yoma 9b). How can exile repair the effects of sinas chinom? Because sinas chinom arises from the desire to pull others down. In exile, we are pulled down by strangers! Mida keneged mida, we suffer from that which we wanted to do to others.
Perhaps this explains something of the distinction between the Messiah descended from Joseph and the Messiah descended from David. Joseph's words "Ani Yosef" were the initial step towards our rectification. The brothers took it upon themselves to reverse the disaster they had brought about by their own actions. But, as we said above, even Joseph had a hand in his own fate. Why did he have to reveal his dreams?
It seems that the final rectification awaits the day when all Israel understand fully the terrible consequences of sinas chinom, which arises from a lack in our acknowledgment that G-d is just in all His ways, even when He appoints one of us as king over the others.
The moment that we rejoice in the king who is selected from among us, we will greet the Messiah, son of David, and all our troubles will be over. May we see it soon in our days!