Thursday, July 11, 2013

Moving, Orphans, Wells in Tajikistan

The condo is full of boxes, the first floor is nearly empty and our cars are already on their way to New York.  We have no Internet, cable, or silverware anymore.  
And over the next week we will mostly be living out of suitcases and sleeping on couches and in guest rooms.  It is already feeling a little stressful and likely will continue to be.  
The other day I was taking care of some last minute things, feeling a little anxious about the upheaval going on when a report came on about the struggle to obtain potable water in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan.  Many people have to spend half the day to collect water at wells that haven't been maintained since the end of communism.   
Listening to that story made me feel not just less upset about our present "troubles" but grateful that we are faced with the opportunities ahead of us.  
But it also made me think of the haftarah this week.  It is not enough just to feel glad you aren't truly suffering, truly in need - you need to work to help those who are.  That is the message in Isaiah's words for Shabbat Hazon - "Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
The blessings of a (even relatively) good life come with responsibilities to help others in need - this is what the Prophet wants us to realize.  
Take time this Shabbat and on Tisha b'Av next week to reflect on the things you have - and on how you can put them to work to help others.  
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Benson

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