Behar-Bechukotai 5773–Shabbat Torah Study–Why Does God Give Us Such Responsibility?

Slavery in the Torah is very curious. The Torah goes to great lengths to regulate how our ancestors were to treat slaves. Why not just abolish it? Would that not be within God’s power? Of course it would. God took us out of Egypt and away from Pharaoh’s slavery. What does it prove that God allowed slavery to continue? What does it prove that God allows any evil to exist? Maybe it proves the overwhelming importance of freedom of choice. God sets us on the right path. There are standards. Beyond that, it is for us to make the right decisions and choices. The question is whether the way we treat each other is a statement about God or a statement about ourselves. God asks us to act for the weak, the impoverished and the downtrodden—before they fall to that level. We are to watch for danger signs in our fellow man. We are to look out for anyone “faltering in [our] proximity” and strengthen him. Leviticus 25:35. That is who God expects us to be. It is our responsibility to end slavery and trafficking in humans. It exists in cruel fashion affecting millions, around the world, perhaps not legally, but even in America today. We must be purposeful in feeding the hungry. We are partners with God. Are we upholding our end of the bargain?

This Shabbat we learn with our Director of Congregational Learning, Melissa Ser, PhD. at 10:00 a.m. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.

Shabbat Shalom,

Paul

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