The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah. For many it is also considered the Shabbat of Returning, repentance, and focused prayer. It is a special Shabbat because Jews are instructed to examine their deeds and focus their attention on how their behavior affects themselves and others.
In light of the season, this Shabbat can be a useful time to examine the genuine effort we make to improve ourselves, either in reflection of the past year or with hopes for this new year of 5770. Using the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur only for repentance and prayer would overlook one further examination: of charity.
Let this week be a time of reflection.
In Judaism our Sages have taught that G-d will forgive the sins of Israel, but what of the sins we commit against others and against humanity. Using precious time idly or neglecting those in need are considered great grievances in Judaism. A question is then posed: How can Jews ask humanity for forgiveness?
Rabbi Tarfon reminds us in the Talmud, “It is not up to you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” While problems of hunger and poverty in the United States may appear too large for one individual to solve, it is our responsibility as a community, and under Jewish commandment, to act together for positive change. When one individual feels the responsibility to act, even in the smallest ways, their work can make a difference.
Let this year be a year of action.
Please consider a contribution to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. Your gift will help provide for people who are hungry while at the same time advocating to end hunger and it’s causes.