VOLUME 70 NUMBER 8
May 15, 2015
IYAR 26, 5775
Candle-lighting Time 7:47 PM
HELP THE POOR
The Torah discusses the case of the indigent person who is in desperate financial straits. In order to raise money to support himself and his family he sells himself into slavery and uses the proceeds to relieve his economic woes. Obviously this is not the optimum situation but it is condoned when done in such a difficult circumstance. However, the language used in this verse is somewhat puzzling. It states that this impoverished man falters “with you”. Perhaps the intent is that since this person is nearby you and you are aware of his predicament, therefore you should be helpful and assist him to regain his economic stability. Nonetheless, this is still not clear since this mitzvah to help your fellow man who is financially struggling applies whether or not he is in close proximity or not.
Ohr HaChaim understands this passage in a totally different vein. The Torah is not discussing someone who is burdened with piles of bills to pay rather this individual has come to the realization that he has not sufficiently enlightened his soul that resides within him. The only consideration that one’s soul has is whether or not its ‘possessor’ is adequately providing for its needs or not. The soul does not subsist on the same type of diet that the body requires. Rather, the inner essence of the person expects Torah study and fulfillment of mitzvos on its menu. Otherwise, it begins to wane and darken as it is inundated with the physical environment that engulfs it and threatens to destroy its very existence. Sometimes a person can actually feel hunger for spirituality but not always. Even when we do not sense hunger pangs for a word of Torah or to do a mitzvah, still we must appreciate that the soul is ravaged and needs immediate attention. On other occasions, we will merit Divine intervention and Hashem will orchestrate that someone will take an interest in his fellow man and seek to encourage him to bolster his Torah study and become more involved in performing mitzvos and attempting to find opportunities that will allow him to serve Hashem on a higher level.
We are standing on the threshold of receiving the Torah in a very short time. Although the initial experience at Mt. Sinai occurred many generations ago, each year we intimately encounter the same radiance of Torah that once hovered over that small insignificant mountain top. However, for some of us we are challenged as to how we can actually imbibe Torah and merge it with our inner selves. We need others to encourage us, guide us and successfully provide the opportunity.
Everyone knows that when they spy someone who needs financial assistance they are prepared to give him some money in order that he may raise the necessary funds that he needs. Truthfully speaking, we must also understand that helping another who is in dire spiritual straits is just as important and valuable and therefore it is incumbent upon those who share a community or neighborhood to team up and look around to assess which others would benefit from their assistance.
One of the most important prerequisites for our nation to achieve in order to receive the Torah is unity and total lack of discord. Perhaps one of the most defining elements of harmony is to see beyond our needs and perceive what others are searching for. When each individual seeks to discover others’ concerns, then we are no longer a nation of individuals rather we fuse into an entity that is united and shares a common bond. This is the power that Torah invests in us and that is the message that we can gain from Shavuos.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Although we are the children of Hashem, we are also termed the ‘slaves’ of Hashem. This is to emphasize that we, together with the rest of the world, must utilize our combined abilities to dedicate our lives and ambitions for the sake of promoting Hashem’s Name.