Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!” — Psalm 133:1 (NKJV)
The year 2018 is important for Israel and the Jewish people as we celebrate the modern State of Israel’s 70th Birthday. You can be part of this momentous milestone with Rabbi Eckstein’s 70 devotions offered now through April 19, Israel’s Independence Day. These devotions are tied to our Keys to Israel – six fundamental principles underlying God’s covenantal relationship with His chosen people and His Holy Land using the acrostic I.S.R.A.E.L.
This devotion is part of ten devotions focusing on the letter “L” for Love your neighbor — one of the greatest commandments that God gave to both Christians and Jews.
In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy demands that Linus change the TV channel, threatening him with her fist. “What makes you think that you can walk in here and take over?” Linus asks. “These five fingers,” says Lucy. “Individually they’re nothing, but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.” Linus, defeated, replies, “Which channel do you want?” Then he looks at his own fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
Indeed, when things or people come together, they are far more powerful than on their own. Individual snowflakes are powerless, even fragile, but just look at what they can do when they stick together!
Power and strength are not the only positives to come out of unity. When people stick together, we are capable of creating new things and discovering new cures. We can make a better life that all people can enjoy. This is what the psalmist means when he writes, “How good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” It’s not just the absence of fighting that makes it “good and pleasant” when God’s people live together – it’s the presence of great innovation and capability that results when people help each other, work and live together, and create a better world.
The Jewish sages point out a very significant change that occurs in the Bible when it describes the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. The verse simply says, “and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain” (Exodus 19:2). However, in the original Hebrew, it’s easy to recognize that Scripture changes from speaking about the Israelites in the plural tense and instead describes them grammatically as a single unit. This is because, as the sages explain, when the Israelites were at the foot of Mount Sinai, it was as if they shared “one heart and one soul.” They had merged into one unit. It is because of this unity that they merited receiving God’s revelation and the giving of the Ten Commandments.
If the unity of the Israelites in ancient times could bring God down to earth, imagine what will happen when God’s people come together in our times!
Here at The Fellowship we celebrate the unity between Jews and Christians who all share the same love for God, the Bible, and Israel. Together we work tirelessly to fulfill God’s purposes. Join us in our holy work and together we will see with our own eyes, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
Join the celebration and get the entire Keys to I.S.R.A.E.L. curriculum for free — for you, your small group, or even your church.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President