The sense of frustration over the tragedy in the Gulf has made work very difficult. After all, the people there lack basic necessities of food water and shelter. Those things are so fragile and precious and we often take them for granted.
People struggling to survive, the weakest of the weakest left to fend for themselves. The elderly, the children, the uneducated and the poor. What have we done?
One doesn’t have to be religious to realize that our purpose in humanity is to help those that cant help themselves. Our own blessing is incomplete while basic life is denied to others.
We must pray and offer whatever assistance we can to those who are refugees, the sick, the homeless, the devastated lives left in the wake of this disaster. It is our test to pass.
This week we read the Torah portion of Shoftim. Shofim commands the Jewish people in establishing courts and judges to judge the people.
It is this week, that we lost our Chief Justice. It is this week and last that we witnessed the breakdown of civil society in New Orleans.
The Talmud exhorts to pray for the welfare of the country, because without a strong government, people would destroy one another.
It has always been hard for me to read this. I mean how can deliver such a low expectation of humanity?
The truth is that the Talmud doesn’t mean that everyone will act in this way, but rather that elements of the population will indeed destroy the rest if they are left to their accords.
There are people that have no fear of heaven. They prey on the week. They commit the most heinous of acts without fear of retribution. The stories that are now filtering out of New Orleans are so atrocious. The entire city was victimized by the flood, the storm, and criminals. It was Mad Max, or Waterworld, all in our own backyard.
Not only is the commandment to establish courts and law, and by extension the police, a requirement for Jewish life, but of course for the entire world. One of the seven commandments that have universal application, is the establishment of a system of Law and Justice.
The Torah tells us to place enforcers of the law at the gates of the city. On a simple level that makes sense to post guards. On a deeper level this means to guard the entrances to our soul from forces that seek to damage it. We must be protective of our humanity at all times. We should guard our eyes from seeing what they should not see and our ears from hearing what they should not hear.
Let us not become cynical at the plight of those that suffer, which sadly I have heard. Let us not despair of G-d for letting this happen. Let us now focus on helping those in need, spiritually and physically.