Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jewish welfare

Parshat Ki Tetze

In chapter 24 we read a series of mitzvot that delineate aspects of a welfare society and social concern. The verses talk about leaving parts of your fields and crops for the downtrodden, the convert, the widow, etc.. We also find the Torah give reasons for these mitzvot. In verses 18, 19 and 22 we find the reason: You should remember that you were once slaves in the Land of Egypt, etc.. This is in addition to the multitude of mitzvot we find throughout the Torah that are to remind us of our days in Egypt.

A Jewish community is not meant to be purely capitalistic. Social rules must be built into society. We have to care for the needy and less fortunate among us. It is not only to be left for the philanthropic feelings – when a person feels like donating. The commandments tell us the rules of what we have to leave for the poor.

In Egypt we were the lower-class of society. We were the slaves. We were the people who were not taken care of. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to think back to Egypt – remember those times, imagine what it was like. Think back and understand how difficult it is for the widow, for the orphan, the convert, the poor, etc. By doing that, you will be sensitive to his needs and you will be able to treat him properly, with the proper care every Jew deserves.

1 comment:

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Yups good to be sensitive to that, thanks.