For the week of March 27, 1999 / 10 Nisan 5759
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Haftarah: Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
Replaced by: Hagadol, Mal 3:4-24 (English: 3:4 - 4:6)

Bridging the Generation Gap

Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse (Malachi 3:24; English: 4:6).

It was foretold that the prophet Elijah would return prior to the Lord's judgement. What he was to do is summarized in the words, "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers."

The heart is the center of our desires and will. It is our hearts that determine our actions and reactions. Elijah was to turn fathers' hearts to their children and vice versa. This implies that the hearts of fathers and their children were turned away from each other.

It appears that the parental relationships in the days these words were spoken were not too different from our own day. Years ago the term generation gap became popular. It referred to the great distance that existed between parents and their children.

When hearts are turned away from each other, what they love and care about is very different. As a result, their agendas diverge and eventually these two parties exist, as it were, in two different worlds.

God says that if this gap is not bridged, "I will come and strike the land with a curse." Thus the final results of the generation gap is the destruction of our society.

But thankfully, this is not the end of the story. Elijah was to come to bring change. Through his work the heart of fathers and their children will be turned to each other. What would that look like?

They would have a common love, fathers and children caring about the same things. No more would they be at loggerheads about what is important and what is not.

They would have respect for one another. Imagine if fathers and children actually believed that each other was valuable, that each other mattered. No more selfishly pursuing their own interests, but caring how what one says and does greatly affects the other.

As a result of this love and respect, there would emerge common agendas. A unity would be created out of the diversity of the different age groups that would serve to benefit society.

And because the one generation would no longer feel threatened by the other, young and old would then have the freedom to each be what God intended.

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