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ב"ה

Compassion!

Friday, 6 November, 2020 - 7:36 am

Monday evening, just hours before the polls opened on the east coast, I had the great honor of placing Mezuzot at the Bozeman homes of two young Jews. Patrick and Zoe both grew up in Bozeman with a healthy Jewish identity and were excited to get a Mezuzah placed on their front door. Chaya and Zeesy joined me for the Mitzvah and on the way home, while listening to the radio, a conversation ensued about the election process. I explained to them that we have good friends on both sides of the aisle; friends whose wisdom and thoughtfulness I appreciate deeply, and that we mustn’t ever judge someone's character based on the bumper sticker on their car or sign in their front yard. It’s important for them to hear it from me, especially as our country is so divided with lots of hurt and anxiety to go around.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeira, we read about Abraham and Sarah’s hospitality. They served food and drinks, they provided lodging and washing basins, and they even escorted their guests on their way out, so they don’t feel like they were a burden. They gave it their all for total strangers, no strings attached, and here’s the scoop, when we are busy giving, we don’t have time to Kvetch in misery. Maimonides writes  “We are obligated to be careful with regard to the mitzvah of charity…because charity is an identifying mark for a righteous person, a descendant of Abraham…Everyone who is merciful evokes mercy from others…Whenever a person is cruel and does not show mercy, his lineage is suspect…”.

Powerful words.

Abraham and Sarah lived in a pagan world that wasn’t very fond of them, yet they didn’t spend their time bemoaning their surroundings, instead they gave, gave and gave more. They served equally those who appreciated their belief in G-d and those who thought it was ridiculous. They took care of their nephew Lot and those who they would never meet again. Americans, like all human beings, don’t all see the world the same way. Your neighbor, fellow worshipper and work colleague may have different views than you do, but like Abraham and Sarah, we should show them an outpouring of kindness, pure unadulterated benevolence, and it will heal us and our country.

Compassion begets compassion; viciousness begets viciousness!   

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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