Posts Tagged 'Bnai Akiva'

Expanding the Bubble of Camp: Yadid’s Dvar on Brothers

My son Yadid just finished his last summer as a camper at Camp Stone. He had a wonderful summer. To keep the magic going he is attending a Bnai Akiva Shabbaton this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised that he volunteered to give a Dvar Torah Thursday tonight. In reading this I realize that camp is truly a wonderful bubble in which we image our Utopian visions for the world. These bubbles do not need to pop, but rather we need to work to expand them to impact the entire world.  With his permission I share his Dvar from last night with you:

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We must live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”

Our world is filled with global crises such as; Climate Change, Sexism, Racism, Poverty, Wars, just to name a few. But as a privileged White, Male, Middle Class, Jew, living in the east coast of America, I don’t feel at risk of perishing, I am not directly impacted by most of these crises. So I must ask myself, What can I do? How can I help? What does it mean for us to live together as brothers?

In Re’eh, this week’s parsha, Moshe tells B’nai Yisrael about some commandments discussing things such as property, slaves, and idolatry. One of these commandments is that, “the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, saying, “You shalt surely open [Patoaḥ tiftaḥ] your hand unto your poor and needy brother, in your land.’” ( Deuteronomy 15:11)

In discussion of this verse we learn in the Gemara in Baba Metzia 

One might have derived that we only have the obligation to give charity to the poor residents of one’s city. From where is the obligation to give charity to the poor residents of another city derived? The verse states: “Patoaḥ tiftaḥ,”  [a doubling of language] to teach that you must give charity to the poor in any case.  (Bava Metzia 31b )

In many ways when I really open myself to those in need, they become my brothers

This doubling of language in our parsha teaches us that we need to reach beyond our cities to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate.

The wise sage, Winnie the Pooh once said, “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

I just got back from an amazing summer in Machal at Camp Stone. ( Represent). All of our moshavot are bubbles, utopian visions of the way the world could be. Machal is about expanding that bubble because our community left camp all week, only returning on Shabbat, the best part of camp. The motto of our Eidah this summer was, “ What can I do? How can I help?” This statement felt most relevant when during our trip to Algonquin a tree fell on my friend’s leg and everyone present did a different task to help the kid get help as soon as possible. Unrelated to any of our relationships to him before this accident, in the process of helping him, we all got closer, dare I say… Brothers. Reflecting on camp, I ask myself, how can this motto, “What can I do? How can I help? be applied to problems in our world.

I know camp is very important to all of us here because it has given each of us a glimpse into what the future might look like. The question for all of us is, what can each of us, as individuals, and all of us, as a movement, do to bring that vision into reality. For the “residents of one’s city”, or anywhere.

As I started this with MLK, I also want to end with him. He said:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

If we are truly open to this week’s parsha we realize that Reverend King is right. In opening up to all those in need, leaving our bubbles, going to their part of the forest, We realize that we are all brothers, united “in a single garment of destiny”

Chodesh Tov and I know it is a bit early but Shabbat Shalom.

Yadid is growing up. I could not love him more or be prouder of the person he is becoming. I am excited to see his growing impact on the world.


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