Often the Torah uses the word “brother” for one’s neighbor. I imagine that in biblical times one’s neighbor often was one’s brother. Now that is seldom, if ever, true.

But the Torah wants us to understand that the people with whom we share common ground, sometimes quite literally, are as close as family. Or should be.

I’m well known in my neighborhood, or at least well recognized, because I have two large dogs and walk them several times a day. The dog walkers all know each other, and we all know each other’s pets names. Sadly, that is not always true of our own names.

I know only some of my neighbors. My house shares a roof with my next door neighbor, and yet it took me 4 1/2 years of living side-by-side to learn that we both love chocolate and the same kind of red wine.

Today, I am in Miami celebrating my nephew’s graduation from college. My brother is so grateful that I made the effort to come. It reminds me that gestures both large and small have meaning.

In our busy and fractured world, which I sometimes find difficult to navigate, there are opportunities for breaking down the barriers between us. May we be blessed to find the cracks, the ones that, as Leonard Cohen taught, let the light in.