Israel Forever

For the week ending 6 November 2004 / 22 Heshvan 5765

When the Poor Get Poorer

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

A great deal of criticism has been directed at the Israel Governments economic policy which is condemned as making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

This weeks Torah portion conveys a most important lesson for governments and individuals alike as to the importance of caring for others and reaching out to them with chessed (loving-kindness).

Our Patriarch Avraham sent his trusted servant Eliezer to find a young woman who would be a suitable wife for his son Yitzchak. When Eliezer arrived in Aram Naharaim, where Avrahams family lived, the only criterion he used was how the girl would respond to his request for a drink of water. When Rivka demonstrates how compassionate she was by generously giving the water she had drawn from the well to him and offering to also supply water for his camels, Eliezer was convinced that she was the one Heaven had chosen to enter the family of the paragon of chessed, Avraham.

As the descendants of Avraham, all Jews are expected to have this characteristic of compassion. Serious thought must be given as to whether government cuts in child allowances, benefits for the elderly and public health care are consistent with the spirit of chessed which must be part of Israel forever.

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