Parashat B'har

Responding Swiftly To Need

Charity is rooted in our understanding that those who need our help are indeed our brothers.

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Or not. Because, as Rashi says--if the one individual (and not some faceless governmental agency) doesn't help him in time, and he actually falls, then even five people--even an entire governmental bureaucracy--will have trouble getting him up on his feet again.

The implications here about individual as opposed to collective responsibility, and the ways in which we define and relate to those whom we are willing to help, and the actual goals of the assistance we do give, are worth some thought.

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Rabbi Shimon Felix

Rabbi Shimon Felix is the Israel Director of the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. He lives with his family in Jerusalem, and has taught in a wide variety of educational frameworks in Israel and abroad.