Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 41 - Rabbi Na’ama Dafni-Kellen

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

“Achva” (Brotherhood), comes from the word “Achim” (Sisters and Brothers). It is not a simple thing. 

In the book of Genesis we find terrible hostility and jealousy between man and his brothers - Cain murdered his brother Abel, envy and difficulty between Rachel and Leah and Joseph’s sale by his brothers. It seems like the Torah seeks to outline before us the hard truth about the greatest pains and the most extreme intolerance that can be found precisely between brothers and sisters. 

Compared to the book of Genesis, the book of Exodus demonstrates benevolent brotherhood - between Moses, Miriam and Aharon. Brotherhood that holds the commitment to protect the safety and life of our brothers, willingness to complement each other's disadvantages, jointly carrying the burden of leadership, rebuke, concern and standing together in front of Holiness. 

Benevolent brotherhood allows us to heal those in need of healing, to leave Egypt, to receive the Torah, and to sing together. 

Sisters and Brothers accompany us throughout life. We share memories with them, we design our identity with them and in front of them, they know parts of us that no one else knows. It is so easy, as brothers and sisters, to engage in painful comparisons, past wounds, jealousies and disappointments.

The Midrash, “Bereshit Rabah”, interprets the words from the Song of Songs as “We have a little sister,” as if addressed to our forefather, Abraham, because it is written about him that “He united all the people of the world. Bar Kapara said: "He is the one that can join the rupture.”

I wish we would remember that we are sisters and brothers. May we ask goodness for one another, ask peace one for another and may we be able to join the rupture with the power of “Achva.” 

 “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say 'Peace be within you.' For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity”. (Psalm 122)

How good it is for brothers and sisters to sit together,

Rabbi Na’ama Dafni-Kellen

Rabbi Na’ama Dafni-Kellen is the Associate Rabbi of Congregation “Or Hadash”, a Reform Kehila in Haifa.

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.
This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.