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You (and I) are a keeper!

Thursday, 4 October, 2018 - 7:36 pm

“Indescribable” Is the only way I can sum it up. Not only was It three weeks of heavenly holidays with incredible services, celebrations and community meals, it was full of first-time experiences.  It was the first time that Sarah attended the lively Simchat Torah day service, first time Ben made a blessing on the four species in the Sukkah, first time Rebecca heard the Shofar on Rosh Hashana and the first time in decades that Sheila fasted the entire Yom Kippur, even though it was hard for her. I changed their names to retain their anonymity, but these are all real experiences, from among countless, of Montanan Jews who enjoyed a Jewish “first” at the Bruk home this month. 

In this week’s Torah portion, Bereishis, the first of Moses’ Five Books, we read about the first case of brotherly rivalry that lead to jealous Cain murdering his younger brother Abel. When G-d oratorically asks Cain about his brothers’ whereabouts, he foolishly assumes he can evade G-d and says “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”. This free-thinking, and dangerously wicked, answer has reverberated among humanity for over five thousand years. Am I indeed the protector, the caretaker, the keeper of my brothers and sisters? When a fellow human is being murdered, either literally or figuratively, are we to remain silent and if we do, do we bear any responsibility? Indeed, G-d made it clear, we do! In His words “Hark! Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the earth”.

We must learn from Cain’s dreadful mistake and never ignore the pleas for help whether it be for physical, spiritual or material needs. I’m asked occasionally, how can you and Chavie live with your home being open to the public almost 24/7? Don’t you feel like it’s an invasion of privacy? The answer lies in G-d’s eternal response to Cain: we are always responsible for our fellow. We can’t say “he ain’t my kid”, “she isn’t my problem”, “it’s none of my business and I don’t have time for it”. Whether it’s a student at MSU looking for guidance or a Jewish backpacker in Yellowstone looking for a hot Kosher meal, we are the keepers of our brothers and sisters and should never lose touch with the interconnectivity of the human spirit.

We are Keepers!

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

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