East Hill Synagogue Annual Dinner
Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes was honored at the East Hill Synagogue Annual Dinner for 11 Years of Public Service to the City of Englewood and as recipient of the Hakarat Hatov Award.
Mayor Wildes' remarks:
East Hill Hakarat Hatov
May 3, 2009
Thank you all very much for this great honor.
I truly appreciate your awarding me the "Hakarot Hatov" award. The title of this award got me thinking about what Hakarat Hatov really means to us as Jews. For some guidance I began looking through Parshat Kedoshim which we just read yesterday.
In parshat kedoshim we find the commandment "Lo tisna et achicha b'lvavecha" "do not hate your brother in your heart" which stands next to several "chukim": "lo tarbeh kil'ayim...lo tizra kil'ayim" "do not breed nor plant kil'ayim (mixtures of different species) and the prohibition of "shatnes".
The parsha contains a series of moral commandments such as giving to the less-fortunate, dealing honestly with others and having fair weights and measures. These are principles of a just and fair society.
The obvious question is what connection do these two categories of laws have with one another?
Our sages suggest that a message arises from both. Namely, everything eminates from our Creator: nothing here is ours and we are charged with the obligation to continuously show that we recognize that what we have comes from Hashem: our Creator. To graciously appreciate the good which God gave us.
By associating laws which are referred to as "chukim"with others which have a more social meaning: we are commanded to create a society in which sharing Godâ's bounty with one's fellow man is the standard to which we should aspire. Giving to others and dealing fairly with one another are thus the watchwords of the society we are mandated to create.
As an elected official, I am afforded the opportunity to execute this mandate and give of my time to others. In fact, the torah demands it of everyone as we are required to share our good fortune with those less fortunate. Indeed this is the essence of "Hakarat Hatov".
And that is precisely what you have done and continue to do here at the East Hill Synagouge. In building this shul, with all of the programs you run to share what you have with the community and with an extraordinary Rabbi and Rebbetzin so loved for their care for others, you have created the Torah-prescribed world right here...¦in your mikdash meyat. Indeed, this congregation serves as a foundation for this important mitzvah.
As many of you know, my wife, my father, my brother and family give time to their communitys in different ways. Your shul and community are an inspiration for us and I am certain to many others. Despite your challenges you have conducted yourselves admirably and appropriately.
I wish you continued success. Yasher Kochachem.
Paid for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes For Mayor, Assemblyman Arnold Brown, Treasurer
250 Allison Court, Englewood, NJ 07631