Parsha Re’eh 5766 — Collective Responsibility for Our Brethren and for Eretz Yisrael — Revisited.

Parsha Re’eh 5766 — Collective Responsibility for Our Brethren & for Eretz Yisrael — Revisited.

By, Moshe Burt

Parsha Re’eh begins with the B’nai Yisrael assembled on Mount Gerizim and Mount Eval. Moshe Rabbeinu continues his mussar saying, “Behold, I set before you … a blessing and a curse; the blessing if you heed the commandments of Hashem, and the curse, if you will not observe his commandments.(Sefer Devarim, Perek 11, posukim 26-27)

Toward the end of the parsha, we are informed “If there be among you a destitute person of one of your brothers within your cities in your land which Hashem … gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother.” (Sefer Devarim, Perek 15, posuk 7) this author views “V’ahavtah, L’rei’echa Kamocha”, what Hillel told the Ger “on one foot” as summing up the entire Torah; wanting for your brother what you would want for yourself, and not wanting for your brother what you would not want for yourself, as the link which binds these two these two p’sukim in our Parsha.

And so we sit one year later almost to the day of last year’s expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. Please click here, and here for (some, but not all) information and statistics regarding the current state (as of the end of July) of our Gush katif brethren who still by and large await compensation from the government of Israel for the loss of their property and belongings by way of the regime’s legalized theft.

One year later, we have been through a new War with Hezbollah in Lebanon, now on temporary hold due to an ill-considered UN cease-fire. Tens of thousands of our brethren have been displaced by the onslaught of Katyusha Rockets launched on Tsfat, Tiberias, Kiryat Shemona, Nahariya, Haifa. Many more have had to stay holed up in bomb shelters. The Government once again was ill-prepared to deal with the level of human tragedy and loss of property arising from the missile bombardments. And all the while, the war in Gaza continues and Kassams as well as Katyushas continue to fall near S’derot, Ashkelon and the surrounding areas.

With tragedy comes opportunity, regretfully opportunity that we all wish wasn’t, but yet it is here. Among the tens of thousands of displaced residents from the north, 1,000 families are temporarily residing in Beit Shemesh until it is deemed safe to return to their homes. Further, for many, they may not have their homes to return to due to the Katyusha Blitz.

There will need to be massive rebuilding in the North when it is safe to go back. Homes have been destroyed, businesses wrecked. And the human toll in anguish and trauma is immense. It brings back the anguished memories of last year when Gush Katif people were temporarily housed in hotels, often a family of 8 or 10 or more in one or maybe two hotel rooms, or in guest houses with the same situation or worse, or in tent cities.

Just as many private citizens in Israel and abroad jumped in to alleviate the void left by the government of Israel toward the Gush Katif families, many are similarly jumping into the void to help their brethren from the North.

And so, again this year, again in crisis V’ahavtah, L’rei’echa Kamocha — wanting for one’s brother that which one wants himself — this is the byword on a Jew-to-Jew level.

A recommendation here; Lema’an Achai of Ramat Beit Shemesh has taken it upon themselves to serve as the vehicle for helping to feed and provide shelter for 1,000 of our displaced northern brethren. Please click here, on their special page devoted to publicizing the plight of these families from the Northern cities and towns. Then, please help — give until it hurts, but don’t stop there. Give until it helps.

Please, “… you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother.”

May it be in this year and beyond, that our brethren; the refugee families from Gush Katif and the Shomron (may they soon be restored to new homes and neighborhoods, Bati Knesset, Yeshivot in Gush Katif and the Shomron and only happiness and success for all time), as well as our dear brother, Jonathan Pollard (may he soon know freedom and long life in Eretz Yisrael), that our brethren from Gush Katif and from the north soon be restored to their regular lives (not to use Ehud Olmert’s term — “normal”) and routines, that the lives of the 3 captive Chayalim be central in our thoughts, prayers, chassadim and actions. May this abominable period of history called hitnatkut be as a bad dream.

May we be zocha in this coming year to take giant steps toward fulfilling Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt is an Oleh, writer and commentator on news and events in Eretz Yisrael. He is the founder and director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network.