עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים
In the text above from Pirkei Avot 1:2, we learn that the world stands on three things: Torah, worship, and acts of loving kindness. If you’ve attended worship services recently, you’ve likely heard Greta Kantrowitz, our Temple President, offer a word or two about kindness. Acts of kindness, we learn in this week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei, from Deuteronomy, extend to all living things. We are commanded that when taking young birds or eggs from a nest, we must first send away the mother bird (Deut. 22:6-7). Sending away the mother bird avoids her having to experience the anguish of losing her young. Jewish ethics include avoiding tza’ar ba’alei chayyim, unnecessary cruelty to animals. This commandment reinforces our understanding that Judaism has high respect for all life.
May our worship and our study of Torah lead us to g’milut chasadim, acts of loving kindness.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush