“And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown up, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens…”
Having grown up in the royal palace as a prince of Egypt, the Torah relates that one day Moses was walking outside when he saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating an Israelite. He responded immediately and passionately and he killed the taskmaster.
The capacity to feel outrage over the injustices that we perpetrate upon one another, and feeling compassion for the suffering of other people, is uniquely human. Our belief that our God is concerned with issue like justice, human dignity and freedom—I dare say that all of that was born in the land of Egypt in the experiences that our ancestors endured, and the lessons that have been conveyed throughout the generations.
A compelling thought for these times in which we live: It was George Bernard Shaw who wrote that “the worst sin towards our fellow creatures in not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of inhumanity.”
The timeless message of Judaism: that we see, that we feel, and that we act to better the human condition.
I want to wish you and your loved ones a good and blessed New Year!
Rabbi David Greenberg