Weekly Torah Commentary — Re’eh August 21, 2014

Re’eh Deuteronomy/Devarim 11:26-16:17

In this week’s Torah portion we are given the commandment to care for the poor, the widow and the orphan. Performing acts of kindness is a major teaching of both Judaism and Christianity.

If there is a needy person among you, one of your kinsmen in any of your settlements in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather, you must open your hand and give him sufficient for what he needs…give to him readily and have no regrets when you do so, for in return the Lord your God will bless you in all your efforts and in all your undertakings.” 15: 7-10

There are many ways you can spend your hard-earned dollars. And there is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a job well done. But what would happen if you rewarded someone else instead? If you took a hot meal to a homeless person? If you contributed the the needs of widowed mother of four children?

Properly understood, the act of helping others actually benefits you more than the one you help. That’s what the bible teaches. Knowing that you sacrificed something such as time, finances or possessions in order to help others in need gives you a sense of purpose and inner satisfaction. Why? Because that is always the result of following God’s commandments.

Giving to those in need helps make our communities better places to live by providing goods and services to people who might not otherwise have access to them. When we raise the standard of living for the the least able among us, we raise our own standard of living in turn.

Giving charity often entails finances, not not always. Taking an hour or two on a weekend to help an elderly widow with simple tasks, or babysit for a single Mom so she can have a little time to renew herself, or sharing those extra clothes in your closet that you know you’ll never wear again – all of these are charity in action.

Our chaotic world is desperately in need of a revival of acts of kindness. In fact, I’d like to suggest today that in contrast to the growing trend of violence around the world, we begin a new trend: KINDNESS.

How about a campaign of KINDNESS? So glad you asked!

This morning via the website, teespring.com, I designed a simple T-shirt sporting the words,
KINDNESS, The New Trend. Teespring will not produce the shirts unless a minimum of 50 shirts are ordered and no one will be charged until we reach that goal.

But here’s the extra benefit: purchasing one will not only help spread the message but it will also enable you to do a special act of kindness: the proceeds will go to help widows and orphans in Israel, especially those who have recently lost husbands and fathers in this latest war.

I invite you to join me in Spreading the Message of Kindness around the world.

In Tune with Torah this week = Let’s start a new trend – examine yourself first. How are you doing in performing acts of kindness? Then visit our campaign page and be part of extending your kindness all the way to Israel. Please go to: http://www.Teespring.com/spreadthekindness

Thank you! And Shabbat Shalom!

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