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    Be one people – Vayikra

    According to the Midrash, Moses came to God with a request after the Mishkan (Tabernacle) had been erected. He asked, “What do You wish me to tell the people now that they have a tabernacle?”

    God replied, perhaps surprisingly: “Now that the people have a sanctuary, let there be no quarrels or strife”.

    The psychology of human beings often plays itself out in growing disunity once a project has been completed. Everyone works together to plan the enterprise, everyone co-operates in implementing the plan, everyone is delighted when the completion of the task is celebrated. Then, as an old Jewish phrase has it, satan m’katreg – the evil inclination gets to work.

    People begin to big-note themselves and to malign others. They disagree about what use to make of the achievement they have jointly created. They cast aspersions on each other’s learning and lineage, on their piety and propriety. They begin by screaming at each other and before long they no longer want to be on speaking terms at all. They elbow each other out. A once united people is riven by factions.

    How can this be what God wants of His people?

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