We All Have Something to GiveJuly 6, 2023 - 12:00 am
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked. — Psalm 82:3-4
This month, we will look at the theme of justice as one of the bedrock principles of our Judeo-Christian values. Enjoy!
In a world of political upheaval and fake news, it can be hard to know who to trust; judges can be bribed, politicians can be corrupted, and justice seems impossible to grasp. Apparently, this isn’t new.
Psalm 82 expresses outrage at the judges and officials who do not do their jobs with integrity, sacrificing the needs of the weakest members of society for their own personal power and political gain. The psalmist pleaded: “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
While his words are directed at those in positions of power, the message is relevant to each and every one of us. In fact, perhaps specifically because we cannot depend on others to do the right thing, their jobs become our jobs. As the Jewish sages taught, “In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.”
We All Have Something to Give
Of course, the magnitude of this task can be overwhelming. When there are millions of children starving around the world, people living on the streets, and suffering on the front page of every newspaper, it’s tempting to tell ourselves that the problems of the world are too great for us to tackle, that tackling them is someone else’s responsibility.
But when we open our eyes and hearts, we can see the pain of others all around us. The single parent struggling to make ends meet. The elderly woman down the street who just lost her husband. The co-worker who hasn’t smiled in weeks.
According to Jewish law, even a poor person who is partially supported by charity is obligated to give a portion of what he receives to others. This law is not designed to make life harder for those who are already struggling, but rather to remind us that we all have something to give and there is always someone who would benefit from our help.
Your turn: Find small ways you can step up to support those around you. Whether it’s cooking a homemade meal for a neighbour, donating your time or money to a worthy cause, or smiling at a struggling stranger, there is always something we can do to alleviate the suffering of others.