Working on Behalf of Our Fellow Man

“…The commandments of the Torah are the basic building blocks for perfecting human society, for the prat (individual) and the clal (collective).

The Torah is replete with commandments aimed at helping us overcome the inner inertia or
natural selfishness that prevents us from actively working on behalf of our fellow man. For
this reason they are directed precisely at those areas of human activity where our sense of
good and right comes face to face with own own selfish interests. For example:
“If there be among you a poor man…do not harden your heart or shut your hand
against your needy brother. Open your hand to him generously (patoach tiftach), lend
him and lend him again (haavet taavitenu) sufficiently for all his needs” (Deuteronomy 15:7-
8). “Give him again and again (naton titen)…Open your hand generously to your poor
and destitute brother” (ibid. 15:10-11). “And when you set him free, do not send him away
empty-handed…You shall provide for him liberally (haanek taanik) from your flock, your
barn, and your winepress, so that he shall have a share of all the things through which
Hashem has blessed you” (ibid. 15:13-14). Hashem blesses man with tremendous bounty,
but for what purpose? The Torah declares, “So that there shall be no destitute person
among you. For Hashem wishes to bless and bless you again (barekh yebarekh)” (ibid.

Every one of these verses contains a double verb-form (open-open, lend-lend, give-give,
bless-bless) to emphasize the importance of overcoming whatever rationalizations we might
make in order to extricate ourselves from these basic social regulations. But more than this,
the Torah expresses here the most profound truths, that by giving, especially when we feel
completely exempt from any involvement, we create a loving society.

These endeavors are preparations for true communion with God. The greatest human
beings who ever lived—the prophets themselves—were all involved in raising the
consciousness-level of their generation. And they didn’t do this by separating themselves
from their people—certainly not for long periods of time. All were involved in every aspect of
their people’s lives. They communed with God at night, or whenever they were alone, or
even when they weren’t alone—for God was the center of their lives, and their
consciousness of Him was intense and ecstatic. Nevertheless, they understood that it is just
as important to be like God—that is, to emulate Him by caring for His creations—as it is to
be with Him by leaving society and going into spiritual seclusion.”

-Realizing The Unity, Avraham Sutton

Posted on July 21, 2011, in 2 Lines Teachings, Prophecy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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