“You shall eat your fill and dwell securely on your land.”
This week’s Torah reading includes a series of blessings and curses. The blessings are the rewards for following God’s commandments. The curses are the punishments for disobeying.
What are we “moderns” to make of this pronouncement of reward and punishment? We surely see that bad things happen to good people, and that the reverse is also true. We must read the blessings and curses as an ideal vision of the future. Looking at ourselves as part of a group, part of the greater society, all of us benefit when we live a righteous life.
“You shall eat your fill and dwell securely on your land.” What brings us security? The Torah is not talking about soldiers or police or TSA agents at the airplane gate. Interestingly, food insecurity is the term used in our country to describe those who lack “consistent access to adequate food, limited by a lack of money and other resources…” Therefore, by this definition, security is the result of people having enough to support themselves and their families…so that no one lacks for food.
Therefore, our Mitzvah of the Week is to share our food with those who are in need. Bring generous supplies of food to our food barrels, located in the temple Social Hall. Help the poor on the street with their hands out with gifts of food or money to purchase food. I used to keep lunch size paper bags of food to give to those with signs begging for help on the streets. In each bag I placed a small easy-open can of tuna, an individual fruit cup, a box of fruit drink, some crackers, and a fork. Almost every time, the person receiving the bag stops at that moment to sit on the curb and eat. A friend regularly buys a giant container of toasty crackers with peanut butter and gives several packages to each homeless person she encounters. These are especially appreciated because they stay good in their individually wrapped packages for long periods of time.
However you choose to fulfill this week’s mitzvah, may you find yourself blessed for your lev tov, your good heart. May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace.