26 October '16..
Jewish ethics impels us to help the needy and stand up for the oppressed. It is not supposed to set us up for disaster.
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Jewish ethics and morality is something we can be proud of. We are instructed to pay attention to the needs of others. For example, it is a mitzvah (commandment) to leave the unreaped corners of one’s fields for the poor (Lev. 19:9), to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Lev. 19:18), to love the stranger/non-Jew (Deut. 10:19), and more. In fact, while only a minority of the 613 commandments concern how to treat others, in common parlance, the word ‘mitzvah’ is used to mean ‘doing a good deed’.
Our sages dealt at length with issues concerning our interactions with those around us. We are entreated to conduct ourselves with loving-kindness (Pirkei Avot 1:2), and instructed in the importance of truth and peace (Pirkey Avot 1:18).
Evidence of Jewish loving-kindness abounds. Whenever there is a natural or man made disaster and lives are at stake, property in ruins — there you will find Israeli humanitarian organizations, sometimes the first ones with boots on the ground. so to speak. There are non-Israeli Jewish organizations that send teams to these sites and many more provide the financial resources that make such missions possible. Sure, there are also humanitarian organizations from other parts of the world, some UN, some governmental, some Christian and perhaps some with other associations. But it seems almost like a Jewish ethical imperative that where help is needed, Jews are there.
We were there in the American Civil Rights demonstrations. We were there fighting apartheid in South Africa.
And here is where I think the Leftists started to lose their way. We have been used to joining up with the oppressed. We were oppressed ourselves and there was a sense of being in the same boat with other oppressed peoples. After all, remember that in the 50’s in the United States, admission to beaches and other places was forbidden to blacks, Jews and dogs. We were not part of the elite, part of the empowered, regardless of how many of us were educated, successful or wealthy. We were kikes or dirty Jews.
And, while it was a frightening position to be in, it was familiar — almost a genetic inheritance passed down from generation to generation.
And then a miracle happened. We pulled ourselves out of the ashes of Europe and out of the Middle Eastern and North African countries that no longer wanted us there and we regrouped in our ancient indigenous homeland. Here we rose up like a phoenix in the deserts and swamps of our sacred land and grew strong. We were no longer pitied. We were admired.
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