This week’s Torah portion is Vayarah, a portion which gives us poignant examples of our forefather Avraham’s compassion and G-d’s recognition of that amazing trait.
The Torah portion begins with Avraham post-Bris, right after his circumcision and we learn how Avraham ran to greet guests even then. This week, our community showed our spiritual genetic traits as hundreds of our brethren opened up homes, wallets and hearts to those who were hit hardest by Sandy the Storm. Numerous websites were set up to match Shabbos hosts and guests. A bus was sent by a community in Maryland to Far Rockaway to gather together Shabbos guests and take them for a respite. I must have received dozens of emails telling us how to help and how to volunteer and how to pitch in for our community.
Ah, but then there is the guy who claims he is Jewish but I’m beginning to think he ain’t. And that is our traitorous Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
You see, there are silly theorists out there who say Jews with blond hair or red hair are not really Jewish. That is not a Jewish view. We know King David had flaming red hair. We know Jews come in all colors, shapes, sizes and with all kind of eye shapes. Almond-eyes, big-wide-blue eyes, crinkled-Oriental eyes, all Jewish. All kinds of hairs: gold, brown, black, white after aging. All kind of skin-tones from the darkest mocha to the fairest-freckled-white. However, we are told one thing can make us question someone’s Jewish lineage. We are told Jews are Bayshanim, Rachmanim, and Gomlei Chasadim which means a Jew is usually not forward, is a person filled with compassion and one who is first to do kindness for others. And we are told that if a Jew lacks those traits, it is quite valid to question if that person is really Jewish.
Our good ol’ Mayor probably is a descendant of Marie Antoinette and not of our people. He, the one who wants to do away with the rites of the “black hat” customs of Bris, is also the one who only cares for his self-centered lifestyle and his boro and none other. When the blizzard struck and folks died in Brooklyn for lack of access of ambulances, our Mayor said folks should go to Broadway shows. And now, as folks in Staten Island freeze with no food and who knows how many more dead to be found, he is intent on having his Marathon entertainment. We only hear of his efforts to get the stock market and Manhattan running. We don’t see him doing any rescue work in Staten Island, and not either Far Rockaway. The Mayor needs his entertainment and his ability to have his company’s stocks traded. Marie Antoinette all over again.
Further in this week’s Portion, we learn of Hashem deciding to tell Avraham about the plan to destroy Sodom, giving Avraham a chance to pray for that city to be spared and its citizens saved. The weird part, though, is G-d wouldn’t save the city. Why then, have Avraham do the negotiations and pray for Sodom? And the answer is in the verse. G-d said, [18:19] “Kee yedativ l’maan asher yetzaveh es banav…I know he will instruct his children…” G-d said, because I know that through this exercise of pleading for the welfare of even the wicked, of caring for human life, Avraham will instill in his children a sense of G-dliness and compassion.
That is the sign of a Jew – caring, compassionate and doing good to fellow man. Mayor Bloomberg probably ain’t genetically one of ours.
And here is a wonderful song by the group 8th Day about this theme, and I think that for the most part, our community has shown this week we are the children Avraham dreamed of… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJJLdDGffy0