I would like to continue from David Sadker's comment on last week's commentary. David spoke about how we can grow as an individual if we challenge ourselves with experiences outside of our comfort zone. So, this week I would like to challenge each of us to do just that.
.... who regards not persons nor takes a bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, in giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt(Deuteronomy 10:17-19).
Rashi comments, "How could one possibly associate God with monetary bribes?" Some religiously-minded people believe that doing good works will influence God to overlook wicked deeds. The above verses clearly indicate that this is not true. Good works are to be done for their own sake and not to buy forgiveness for any sins. Providing for the orphan, the widow and the stranger represents the highest form or charity, period!
Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt -- You are to love the stranger because you were a stranger to someone else (who should have loved you, by the way). So, here is the the teaching that will take you out of your comfort zone (and me too). It might be easy to help out a perfect stranger -- giving food to someone who is hungry, donating gently used clothing and furnishings to the First Rate Second Hand Thrift Shop, and providing a monetary donation to the Food Bank or ICS. That is not too hard to do. Now let's try and reach outside of your comfort zone and do something a bit more difficult. How about reaching out in a loving way to someone who is "estranged" form you!
There are many people in your life with whom you were close and they said something or they did something that hurt your feelings and now you do not speak anymore. Perhaps you did something or said something to a friend and they will have nothing to do with you. Or, finally, you just lost touch with someone over the years.
So...as we approach the day of At-One-Ment Day (Atonement - Yom Kippur, get it?) why not become "one" again and reach out to that person. Let's reword the Torah a bit: "Love the estranged, for you were estranged in the Land of Egypt."
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Introduction to Shabbat Table Talk
Pharaoh and Moses
Apologies to Rabbi Lookstein
Ki Yachol Lah - כי יכול לה
Small Role; Big Impact
In Response to the Orlando Shooting
When Tragedy Strikes
HUC-JIR L'DOR VADOR Gala
The Baal Shem Tov and His Sage
Share Your Stories
Appreciating Everyone's Gifts
Women Named and Unnamed, Beginning a New Year
The Journey that Changed Our World
Give Bigotry and Racism No Quarter
Loving the Stranger and the Estranged
Seeing the Good Land
Pinchas Is Not Our Religious Model
The Jewish View on Marriage Equality: The Jewish Response to the Supreme Court Decision
Adaption from Rabbi Karyn Kedar's, Omer: A Counting.
Hod of Malchut, "Humility in Nobility."
Netzach of Malchut, "Endurance in Nobility"
Compassion in Nobility
Behar– The Tender Tongue
Endurance in Bonding
Let Me Be What I Can Be
Rabbi Leonard Beerman - My Rabbi
Shmitah: A Sabbath for A Year Making a Difference for Your Lives
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