Ki Tetze

Most commandments require paying attention, to mean what we do. This is so especially with regards to the various gifts left to the poor: the corners of the fields, the tithes, and charity (tzedaka). ”Do not shut your hand to your brother in need” – a double-negative, do not not-give! See him, notice him, share what was never truly yours. Yet one commandment stands out: “When you forget wheat in the field… it shall go to the stranger, orphan and widow.” How unusual! Only through not-noticing can one fulfil the commandment of giving forgotten produce. This applies elsewhere too: without thinking too much about obligations, implications, details, we can open our hearts, allowing ourselves to do the right thing without noticing.

 

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[Inspired by: Deuteronomy 24; Rashi, Meshech Chochma and Rabeinu Bechaye on 24.19; Mitzvat Shichecha u’Gdareiah by R. Avraham Stav; and Max Liebermann’s Potato Gatherers in Barbizon.]

 

 

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