Did you ever have the misfortune of walking in on a family conflict? You’re a
guest at a Shabbos table where the spouses are angry at each other. You witness a blow-
out between a parent and teen-ager. There’s only one thing you want in such a situation.
You want out.
Congregation Kol Chaveirim was falling apart. The grown children were moving
away, the old people were retiring to Florida, and the rabbi was not drawing in the
The new board members wanted to sit the rabbi down and tell him what he had to do
to attract new congregants. The older members were appalled at the idea of giving
orders to their spiritual leader.
The shul’s members began taking sides in the controversy. Because such things were
beneath him, the rabbi stayed out of it. However, as the bitter in-fighting spread, he
stopped recognizing the warm, loving home his congregation once was.
One Shabbos, when he finished his speech, he announced his retirement.
When Klal Yisrael lets loshon hora and sinas chinam pull us apart from each
other, the Shechinah leaves town. But unlike the rabbi, Hashem’s Presence will never
“retire.” It just waits for its moment to take back its position.