Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Hard and Sad Lesson

Certain behaviour has recently come to my attention. Or rather has been highlighted in very dramatic terms. The truth is the knowledge is not new to me, though I would far rather not know of it.

I first heard of this problem when in Chicago and hearing of religious Jews abusing their wives and the need to develop a women's shelter to help and protect the women. A few years later the same problem was presented right here in Jerusalem when I very sadly was invited to a parlor meeting for a women's shelter in Jerusalem. I say sadly because there should NEVER be a need for such a shelter, not in Am Yisrael and not in the other nations either.

The recent events made crystal clear a painful reality that every Jew needs to work on. That is to spend less focus on Torah and more on Derech Eretz on how we treat our fellow Jew. It does not help to learn Torah while kicking another or to brag about ones Yichus while insulting another Jew.

At the end of the day, every Jew is precious in the eyes of Hashem and deserves to be treated with the utmost respect. This in truth is EXACTLY what Hillel taught when saying "all that is hateful unto you, do not do unto others" - only then comes "the rest is commentary, go and study." As we see by the positioning of the two aspects of this sentence, first treat your fellow with respect and only then involve yourself in learning Torah to gain further insight and information as to how to be even more respectful and careful in our interactions both with others and with Hashem.


Shtuey said...


HaShem agrees with you. That's what the opening of Sefer Yeshayahu is all about. What need does G-d have for sacrifices and incense if we're not taking care of the widow and the orphan? If we are not advocates for justice then our prayers and study are worthless.

I find myself coming back from the other side, seeking justice, but neglecting tefillah and study. I am trying to find a balance, but if I have to err, it will always be on the side of action rather than study. I know there will be some who disagree, but that's why they make chocolate and vanilla, as my mother always says.

Shoshanah Shear said...

In response to the comment about leaning to the side of action, this is in keeping with Pirkei Avos - Action is the main thing or in Hebrew המעשה הוא העקר


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