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Wednesday, 28 June, 2017 - 11:24 am


In Hebrew there is no word that is a single letter; there are words consisting of two letters but a letter alone is not a word. The Torah has thousands of letters - 304,805 to be exact. Each letter is carefully formed in order to complete the Torah scroll. If even one letter is cracked or missing, the scroll needs to be fixed. This is true even if the missing letter does not change the meaning of the word.

Each letter represents a person. In a community, we need to ensure that there is never a letter that is alone; no person should be alone.  Even if you are the only person who reaches out to them or they do not feel like they are part of it, you can ensure that they feel like part of a word, you can give them meaning and community.

You may "have everything you need" or may "already be part of a community" yet you must reach out to others nonetheless, show them the love and care.

In this week’s Torah portion, Moses tells Edom: If you let us pass through your land, we will not drink of the water of the well (20:17). The Midrash explains that the verse should have said “water of the wells”. Why does it say “the well”? Because Moses was saying: “Although we have with us manna to eat and the well of Miriam to provide us with water, we shall not drink from it. Instead, we will purchase food and water from you, to benefit you.”

Here the Torah teaches a rule of good conduct: If a man travels to a foreign country, though he may possess all his needs, he should not eat of what he has brought with him but should buy from the local shopkeepers, so as to benefit them.

This is what the Torah celebration taught me. We might think we are just visitors in a community for a limited period of time (how many locals do you know who say they are not here permanently, 30 years later). However, wherever we reside we should enhance it by making it a more G-dly place. The Jewish pride of carrying the Torah down Main St. elevated Harford County into a more G-dly place.

As we continue to endeavor to raise our G-dly consciousness for ourselves, we will benefit our community, our fellow Jew and our fellow man. We must remember to benefit all those who are around us by exhibiting Jewish pride and reaching out to those who may feel distant and encouraging them to become part of the community.

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