Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Oorah Nachas Files- Somewhere Beyond Pluto

Sometimes, kiruv work reaps fruits beyond our wildest imaginations: an actor begins keeping Shabbos; a woman married for 30 years decides to cover her hair; a man puts on tefillin after a 20-year hiatus. At other times, the results of kiruv may be less visible to the eye and more modest, yet every bit as meaningful. At such times, it is good to remember that kiruv is short for “kiruv rechokim.” It's all about bringing the far away close. And no matter how far away they are and no matter how close they come, kiruv is always a victory for Klal Yisroel.

This is something that participants in Oorah’s TorahMates program try hard to keep in mind as they go about teaching and mentoring Hashem’s tinokos shenishbu. They try to remember that there may be only baby steps forward and even a few steps backward along the way. After all, the nature of Hashem’s children is that they both climb and slip down the ladder.

When you work in kiruv, it’s important to take chizuk with each step forward, no matter how long the process and no matter the obstacles in the path. A TorahMate must remain positive, and the goal of bringing Yidden close must be kept in mind, because it can sometimes seem like the work is having no effect whatsoever. Even so, like water dripping on a stone, Oorah keeps at it, bringing Jews close to Hashem Yisborach.

Of course, it helps a lot when there is feedback. It helps the volunteers at Oorah keep going and to never give up. That’s why uplifting notes from those helped by Oorah are shared around the Oorah office.

Oorah TorahMate Binyomin, for instance, related that his newest TorahMate partner, Dave, had been involved with Oorah and learning with a TorahMate for the past eight years. Yet, Dave, as Binyomin put it, remains “very removed from Yiddishkeit.” Oorah is Dave’s only connection to Yiddishkeit. Dave is so far removed from Yiddishkeit that he doesn’t even attend Yom Kippur davening.

Binyomin couldn’t contain his curiosity, so he finally came out with it and asked Dave, “Why have you remained involved with Oorah for so many years?”

Dave had to confess that he doesn’t really understand it himself, but he remained silent for a few moments to gather his thoughts. Then he shared this moshol with Binyomin: “If Judaism is the sun, I am somewhere beyond Pluto, about to drift off into nothingness, but when I get the Oorah package four times a year, it just pulls me back.”

To those at Oorah, this is kiruv rechokim in a nutshell. They’re in it for the long-term, because they just know it’s worth every step forward toward the sun.

Even when the starting point is somewhere beyond Pluto.

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