All Jews are Responsible for One Another

In Parshat Matot, the tribes of Reuven and Gad approach Moshe with a request (Bamidbar 32:5): “If we have found favor in your eyes, let this land (the east bank of the Jordan) be given to your servants as a possession. Do not bring us over the Jordan (to the Land of Israel proper).” Moshe’s reaction was: “Should your brothers go out to war while you settle here?”

According to Tiferet Yehonatan, Moshe is asking: “When your brothers who are living in the Land of Israel go to war, when the enemies attack Israel, should you remain seated in your comfortable homes in the Diaspora?” The war that protects Israel is not just for those who live in Israel, it is the fight for the existence of all of the Jewish people, wherever they may be in the world.

This week marks a year since the second war in Lebanon. Last year we saw many Jews who live in the Diaspora come to Israel during the war and help out any way that they could. They didn’t just sit back and say “I don’t live there so it isn’t my problem”. Jews living in Israel who were not directly affected by the war also went out of their way to help those who were directly affected including hosting total strangers for weeks in their small apartments.

Today, there is much that can still be done to help. Many residents of Sderot are still afraid to go back home. Many residents of Gaza who were evacuated two years ago still do not have a permanent place to live. One third of Israeli children live under the poverty line and unfortunately the list can go on and on.

Let’s hope that we will see true peace in Israel and that our worst problems will be which beaches have jellyfish and which synagogue (out of thousands) will we choose to pray at on the high holidays.