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ב"ה

A New "Humane Society"!

Friday, 27 November, 2020 - 8:46 am

 

Chavie encouraged me to spend quality time with the kids on Thanksgiving, so, I make pancakes with Menny, baked granola bars with Chaya, broiled sweet potato fries with Zeesy and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Yud Kislev, dinner together. I shared with the kids the Thanksgiving proclamation, presented by President Kennedy, just seventeen days before his assassination, in which he writes “ On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist .”

 

 

Oh, how I wish.

 

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read about our patriarch Jacob waking up the morning after his wedding, only to find out that he married Leah, the older, less-attractive, sister of his beloved soulmate Rachel. Unwilling to bring shame onto her sister, Rachel gave Leah the intimate signs that she and Jacob had agreed upon, so that Jacob doesn’t catch on and dishearten Leah on her wedding night. She was willing to give up on her first love just to save her sister from disgrace. Yet, when Jacob makes the appalling discovery, he vows to marry Rachel too, despite the harsh labor Laban would force upon him. Though Jacob was G-d fearing and knew of the prohibition to marry two sisters even before it was formally instituted at Sinai, he chooses Rachel’s dignity over his personal spirituality, so that she isn’t wronged into oblivion on account of his “holiness”.

 

Jacob and Rachel both chose benevolence over self-centeredness.

 

It’s a fascinating lesson for us. In a world plagued by “name calling”, “guilty until proven innocent” judgmentalism, acceptance of “destroy a reputation based on high school behavior” and constantly questioning the integrity of others based on self-defined assumptions, it’s time for us to take a good look at Jacob and Rachel. Even when mistreated by Laban, they both chose love and compassion, over egoism and sanctimoniousness. Next time you’re about to dig into someone else’s life, hoping to find something damaging, ask yourself if it’s your place to do so and whether it’s truly coming from a place of love. We have a “humane society” for animals, it’s time to introduce one for humans. JFK reminded us that it’s our role to end misery, but we can’t do that if we are creating more of it.

 

Less shaming; more humanity!

 

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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