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          Community Rabbi Corner, May 15, 2020

          Rabbi Menashe East
          Mt. Freedom Jewish Center
          Randolph, NJ
          Parashat Behar-Bechukotai

          This week’s double Torah portion, Behar-Bechukotai 500 Internal Server Error

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          The Torah's language - "when" - speaks to the inevitability of facing crisis.   In the final book of the Torah, when addressing the mitzvah of tzedakah, the Torah first declares: "there will be no one impoverished among you..." And then in the opening of the very next section: "When there is an impoverished person among you." Which is it? No one will be poor? Or people will be poor?

          Perhaps the Torah is speaking to the ideal of a world where none are wanting. But in the real world, in our world, in this world...today, we all face impoverishment - financial, physical, spiritual, relational... 

          A clear-eyed, realistic assessment of our lived experience is the first step. When that reality is presented and the depth of crisis is understood, the impoverished person can find a redeemer and an uprooted life can return to its soil. 

          Shabbat Shalom.

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