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The Power of One




Rabbi Glenn Black, CEO, NCSY Canada & Torah High

in today’s fractured world, we need to come together as “one.” this lesson of unity is illustrated in the section of the “4 sons,” the famous four personalities that point to the multiciplity of approaches and questions that we may encounter– both AT THE SEDER TABLE AT IN LIFE.

In today’s fractured world, we need to come together as one and recognize the essential unity that binds us all together. This is a lesson that is beautifully highlighted in the haggadah itself. The 4 sons in the haggadah are introduced as “one who is wise,” “one who is wicked,” “one who is simple,” and “one who does not know how to ask questions.” They represent the different types of people—both male and female-who engage with the Jewish experience. 

It is interesting that the word “one” precedes each of the four sons, as in “one who is wicked,” “one who is wise,” etc. The word “one” does not merely mean that there was one son as opposed to two. This is a deliberate use of language in order to teach us something very deep and special. 

Who else do we know that is ONE? Of course… the famous song at the end of the seder tells us the answer, i.e. “Who knows ONE? ONE is Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem in the heavens and the earth!”

No matter which of the four “sons” we are, or which son is represented by our own sons and daughters, they and we have a spark of “ONE” in each of us. We are all the children of Hashem, harboring an essential divine spark that inhabits us all, uniting us as a people, a nation, and as a member of humanity.

At NCSY Canada, we engage and uplift teens of all types, those who represent a diversity of thought, opinion, skills, abilities, and backgrounds. We pride ourselves in the ability to see beyond the externals and the labels. When we have ahavas Yisrael [ love for Israel] in our hearts, then all we see is ONE. It is a unity that binds us all together and a unity from which our story began, a story of redemption that brought together all the diverse elements of ancient Israelite society as they left Egypt and later stood at the mountain to unite under a common purpose and vision.

Wishing all our NCSY and Torah High families a chag kasher v’sameach. May we all come together with an appreciation and reverence for all the beautiful diverse elements that make up our families and our people.