How many Jews have been lost to our people? Think about the ten lost tribes. What about the Babylonian exile? How many of them assimilated? What about the two thousand years of our current exile? All in all the numbers must be staggering... Perhaps even as many as “the stars of the heaven”.
How does G-d feel about his children who are lost? So lost, they are not even aware of who they really are.
But the real question is: Will they ever come back?
As a young yeshiva student some thirty years ago I met Mr Sheldon Adelson who was then just embarking on his casino business. He said something to me that I won’t forget. He said, in the casino business when the “house” loses, there is a saying, “don’t worry they all come back”. I said to him that this is so true regarding the Jewish people as well. No matter how far any Jew has gone, “they will all come back”.
You may ask, how?
I would like to suggest that the answer is up to each and every one of us. In fact we are the answer...
I met a man last week who was brought up by his parents as a Christian. Recently he discovered that his mother who was born in Suriname was in fact Jewish. Their family had fled from Spain to South America soon after the Spanish expulsion. I asked him if he would like to put on Tefillin. He said he had never heard of Tefilin or Bar Mitzvah. In fact he had never been into a synagogue. I made up with him to put on Tefillin in three weeks time.
The question is: Do we sit back and wait for our lost brothers and sisters to find their way back? Or perhaps should we not all be proactive in showing them the way back home?
The answer, to any brother or sister, must be obvious.
But this has to be done with the greatest sensitivity and care. One needs to demonstrate an unconditional love towards our lost brethren who have become lost at no fault of their own.
This unique approach can be derived from no less then G-d himself. In the first verse of this week’s Torah Portion we read, “He called to Moses and Hashem spoke to him”. Rashi explains that on each and every occasion before G-d spoke to Moses, he first “called his name”, so as to demonstrate a sigh of love and affection for Moses.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe derives from this a most powerful lesson. He explains that before we spoke to any Jew and we want to ask them to do something, we must first and foremost demonstrate that our relationship with them is based on an unconditional love and is not performance related.
Each and every one of us meets many such Jews by “coincidence”. The truth is that there is no “coincidence”. For in fact it is G-d who has engineered that encounter so that we can act as an “emissary” to facilitate, with the greatest patience and love, the return of his children “back home”.