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Health, Nutrition & Torah: Naso

| May 19, 2010

Courtesy Alexander Smolianitski (http://flickr.com/photos/smolianitski/)

Courtesy Alexander Smolianitski (http://flickr.com/photos/smolianitski/)

The Text:
6:16 “The priest shall present them before YHVH and offer the sin offering and the burnt offering.”

The Context:
In the midst of the census, a set of rules is given to help the priests prepare for the march through the wilderness.  The priests are commanded to prevent and eliminate impurity within the Israelite camp.

What it Means for Advocates:
Israelite society in the Torah reveals a dichotomy; there are insiders and outsiders. Anyone considered impure is forced to the periphery. Today, within our communities there are “outsiders”, people living on the fringe. Recent examples of how the homeless have been mistreated in hospitals and how veterans have been denied health care reveal our failures. According to a 2010 report on emergency food distribution by Feeding America, which distributes 2.5 billion pounds of food every year, demand at food banks across the country increased by 46 percent since 2006. Over 37 million Americans, including 14 million children, receive food from Feeding America.

Who are the “outsiders” in our society? Do we see them as impure? How can we learn to see humanity in all people?

One of the best ways to expose people to the plight of homelessness and hunger is to involve them in direct service-to show them the face of the “outsiders”. Find three organizations in your area that serve the impoverished and hungry. Volunteer your time to the organization in the soup kitchen or food pantry.

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