Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Not only Zedakah but Family


There are countless of religious Jews who follow the Mitzvah of giving Zedakah (charity). They donate and donate or arrange new connections between the needy and potential donors. Showing their kindness (Chesed) by helping other people.

OTHER people but how about your own family ?
Don't you have a brother or sister you haven't spoken to in years ? Do you speak to your parents on a regular basis or do you have been hating each other since you moved out ?

Many people love doing kindness in connection with strangers but when it comes to their own relatives, all the thoughts of struggling, quarrel and suffering are coming up. "I don't speak to him because he has done such and such !"

Maybe it would be better taking care of your own family matters instead of only helping out strangers !

Why I am saying this ?

Because I am exactly in that kind of position at the moment. A long forgotten family branch suddenly reappeared in my life. Tonight I spoke to an uncle I haven't spoken to since I was a child more than thirty years ago. What he said was: "Isn't it sad that family matters such the death of a relative is bringing you together again after such a long time !"


  1. B'H

    HaRav Sitruk, the former Chief Rabbi of France taught me the following:

    Why is it that the Torah commands us to love your neighbour as yourself? Why doesn't the Torah mention loving those who are not your neighbour? The answer is quite simple: to love a stranger or someone who is far from you and who is not connected to you is often more easy and natural. But to constantly love someone with whom you live 24/7 or who is a close relative and family member, is more difficult. That's why, the Torah does not mention those who are not close to us, but only those who are close or too close. That means, parents, brothers, sisters, etc. And some meforshim add: loving your wife as yourself is the greatest fulfillment of the Mitzvah of loving one's neighbour, because who can be closer to a man than his own wife?

    It is more difficult to love those who are close, because you don't apply to them the same standards and the same expectations than for strangers and other people. Love between relatives can be the strongest form of love, but it can alos be the most hateful relationship. Fights and arguments between relatives are often more violent than with strangers, etc. Because of all this, it was necessary to give a command to love your neighbour as yourself.

  2. B"H

    It is easier for people referring to strangers than to their own relatives. Maybe because with a relative you are much more connected and it is harder to deal with, as you have a common past and background.