Jews are not supposed to be indifferent.
Jews are supposed to care about the world around them and to be involved in
tikkun olam [repairing the brokenness of the world].
Jews are taught to be passionate about three things: about Torah, about
avodah [which may be understood as “work or occupation” or as “worship or
service”], and about gemilut chasadim [deeds of lovingkindness].
But, whenever possible, Jews are also supposed to be happy and focused on
the blessings of life!
In our weekly Torah portion of Ki Tavo we read: “V’Samach’ta v’chol
ha-tov…And you shall enjoy, together with the Levite and the stranger in
your midst, all the bounty that the Lord your God has bestowed upon you and
your household” (Deuteronomy 26:11). This is one of my favorite verses in
Not long after this verse, we read another wonderful verse which expresses a
powerful prayer to God to look upon us with favor: “Hashkifa…Look down
from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the soil
You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our
fathers” (Deuteronomy 26:15).
The root of the Hebrew word Hashkifa [Look] connects with three other Hebrew
words: mishkafayim [eye-glasses], mishkefet [binoculars], and hashkafa
[outlook or worldview].
We can look at the world, and at those around us, using binoculars. Then,
we will surely see more of their deficiencies. We can also choose to look
around us with a broader outlook. Then, we will be more likely to see the
world and those around us as sources of blessing.
May our outlook be pro-active, yet positive. May our Torah, our avodah
[work, or worship], and our gemilut chasadim [deeds of lovingkindness]
sustain us and may they be a source of blessing, and indeed of happiness, to
us and to those around us!
Rabbi Gilah Dror
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