But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
- Luke 14:13
It’s hard to believe, but we have once again arrived at Rosh Hashanah. And as you probably already know, it’s a very special time—a holy time set aside to reflect on the year past and to ground ourselves in preparation for Yom Kippur. It’s a time of renewal, and of deep reflection as we look at our relationship with God and with the people in our lives over the past year.
Especially during the High Holidays, God is asking us to remember the poorest among us and lift them up in any way that we can.
“For there will never cease to be poor people in the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You must surely open your hand to your brother—to your needy and poor in your land.’”
- Deut. 15:11
This has never been more necessary, as our world is constantly plagued with violence, disease, and loss of faith. The poor among us have suffered more than we can know—not only undergoing a pandemic as we have—but living in poverty and with food and housing insecurity.
When considering the poor, we must make sure that we are humble, and that we put ourselves in a place of service. In order to truly care for the poor, we must acknowledge that we are no better than they are. We are equal in the eyes of God, so we must understand that the poor are our brethren and our peers.
Remember, Yeshua walked the earth with humility. He aligned Himself with the lowly, the poor, and the sinner. In like manner, God’s grace is found in all walks of life.
During this time of reflection, we should also consider why we give alms. When performing acts of mercy, we remember that we do so because our Lord has been generous and merciful to us. We did nothing to earn His love and reward, yet He gives it to us unconditionally. So we also must turn to our brothers and sisters in need, and help them with mercy and generosity. No human being needs to earn the Lord’s love, and neither should they have to earn grace from their earthly peers.
By caring for the weakest and the least fortunate among us, we infuse our communities with strength, prosperity, and hope for the future. During Rosh Hashanah, this hope and prosperity are especially fitting. We must begin this new year looking toward the future and refocusing on our walk with God.
As you break challah and enjoy apples dipped in honey with your family this Rosh Hashanah, take time to reflect upon how you can better serve the poor and needy in your community. How can you take Yeshua’s words, and put them to work in your daily life? How can you help bring the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah to the poor?
We invite you to give generously, as the Lord of this blessed season moves you.
Shana Tova u'Metuka,
Barry & Batya Segal