Friday, September 01, 2017

“G-d gathers the Wanderers of Israel.”

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

“If you see your brother’s donkey or ox fallen under its load on the road, you must not ignore it. You must help him pick up the load” (Deuteronomy 22:4).

It is not just the ox and donkey that sometimes carry heavy burdens on their back. There are human beings as well who bear exceedingly heavy yokes. This may involve the yoke of earning a living, of debts, health problems, family problems, etc. Just as the Torah commands us to help the ox or donkey that are buckling under the weight of their burdens and to help pick up their load and not ignore them, so too are we commanded to help put people back on their feet when they collapse under the weight of debts and other troubles.

It also says, “If you see your brother’s ox or sheep going astray, you must not ignore them. You must return them to your brother” (Deuteronomy 22:1). 

Just as animals sometimes get lost, and when we see them wandering around we are forbidden to close our eyes and ignore them as if we do not see them, so too with people. Some people are like wanderers, blundering along the pathways of life and unable to find the right way. We must not ignore them as though we are unaware of their situation. Quite the contrary, we must open our eyes and our hearts and bring them near, giving them strength, encouragement and succor.

Today, we are witnessing “the ingathering of the wanderers of Israel” (Shemoneh Esreh). Millions of Jews who were banished throughout the world are returning home. Some of them are looking for themselves, for their identity and their path. Some are beset by heavy burdens of earning a living, personal problems, etc. If we are duty-bound not to ignore straying beasts and animals having difficulty bearing their burdens, how much more so that we are forbidden to close our eyes and our hearts before our brothers. By each Jew aiding and strengthening his brother, we will merit to see with our own eyes how good and pleasant it can be when brothers dwell together.

Looking forward to salvation,
Shabbat Shalom.

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