LESSONS FROM 9/11

Rabbi urges all to share the love in their hearts

After listening to farewells from Sept. 11, a rabbi wonders why people don’t share their most meaningful thoughts until the end.

BY MICHELLE HAMMONTREE-GARCIA

   “I love you.”


   Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to let a loved one know how much they matter.


   During the aftermath of 9/11, the idea of withholding love until the very last moment bothered Rabbi Hershel Becker.


   Hearing voicemails left by victims during their last moments in the towers and planes made him think, “Why wait until the end of our lives?”


   “Why should it be that our expressing ‘I love you’ is followed by ‘good-bye?’ ” said Becker while sitting in the dining room of his Pine-crest home. “What can we do to enhance our relationships and make them more meaningful?”


   These questions were the catalysts for a decade-long journey that culminated with the publication last week of Becker’s book, Love Peace: Blueprints for Lasting Relationships.


   Released earlier this week, the book draws analogies between building structures and relationships.


   The Blueprints chapter cites lessons from the Torah and asks questions to promote discussion.


   The Specs chapter helps one understand the roles of individuals in a relationship. And a Building Code chapter has reference material from the Torah and Talmud.


   Becker, 59, a rabbi at Young Israel of Kendall, and his wife, Sima, have held workshops at the local Starbucks, at Shabbat dinner and in friends’ homes.


   They want to use the proceeds from the book to create classes and programming about family values, ethics and morals.


   Sima, 52, says the book has influenced both of them and bolstered their marriage.


   “As a result of the events on 9/11, we discuss our relationship in a positive, loving way,” she said. “Until that point, there was an assumption that everything is OK. Why not talk and make it better? Why settle for good when we can have great?


   As far as the title of the book, Becker explained: “If you want peace you have to really love it, really pursue it. You have to love peace.”


DANIEL BOCK/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD


   OF LOVE AND PEACE: Rabbi Hershel Becker of Young Israel of Kendall in Pinecrest talks about his book that he wrote after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.