Bein Kach Ubein Kach (Avraham Fried)

August 8, 2023

We find ourselves in the homestretch of Chodesh Av – the month that most manifests the unwavering love that our Father in heaven has for all His children. While it remains the zman of reduced joy for now, we are assured that the month of Av contains the underlying ingredients of what will soon be the most jubilant season of the year. Eivel will turn to yom tov. Darkness will turn to light. And it is within the many promises and prophecies that we find the comfort we need to forge ahead.

In what is the farewell prophecy to our nation, Malachi, the last of the Neviim, urges us to see our exile as punishment for failing to uphold our side of the sacred covenant. Our commitment to our Creator has waned and the situation is severe. Yet, it is through him that Hashem pronounces (Malachi 1:2): ‘אָהַבְתִּי אֶתְכֶם אָמַר ה – that despite the despicable treatment He has been shown by His people, Hashem has, and always will love us.

In the same vein, the introduction to Midrash Rus Rabbah (Pesichta 4) describes how in spite of our lax religious and social behavior – even though we have fallen and are still so far from our former state of prominence – Hashem once again asserts: לְהַחֲלִיפָן בְּאוּמָה אַחֶרֶת אִי אֶפְשָׁר – to eliminate them is impossible, to return them to Mitzrayim is impossible, to exchange them with another nation is impossible! They are much more than a privileged people; they are my children.

The Gemara in Kiddushin (36a) brings a machlokes between Rabi Yehudah and Rabi Meir. All agree that the Jewish People are called “Hashem’s children” as evidenced by so many pesukim – one of which is found in this week’s parsha, בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַה׳ אֱלֹקֵיכֶם (Re’eh 14:1). The point of contention is: is this title absolute, or does it depend on our actions? Rabi Yehudah is of the opinion that it depends. Should we fail to behave properly, we can lose the title “children to Hashem.”

However, Rabi Meir argues and says, בֵּין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ, קְרוּיִם בָּנִים – either way they are called children. It is the opinion of Rabi Meir that a Yid can never truly drift away from his source. No matter how distant he might seem, he is and always will be referred to as Hashem’s child.

While this idea alone is enough to make you want to sing, probably the greatest benefit of our attaining the title of “Banim” is that we inevitably become one big family whose unconditional love and dedication to each other will bring us to merit the ultimate geulah.

This may have been what Avraham Fried aimed to convey when he sang Bein Kach Ubein Kach on his homonymous album in 2006. Co-composed by both Fried and his nephew Bentzi Marcus – the latter of whom arranged and sang backup vocals on this and one other track on the album – Bein Kach’s swingin’ message is quite clear: no matter how you say it and no matter what language you say it in, Hashem loves His children no matter what.

As the month of Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li steadily approaches, let’s use what opportunities we have left to take in this great lesson of Av before Av is over. May our collective efforts to serve Hashem with joy and love – as treasured children to our Av Horachaman – bring Him much nachas, so that He will reciprocate and bring us Moshiach’s immediate arrival.

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