In this week’s Torah portion, we find one of the most important commandments in the entire bible. At the very end of the passage in Deuteronomy 22:3, we are commanded:
Lo TooChal L’hitalem
You shall not hide yourself – or – You shall not remain indifferent
These five words are embedded in a marvelous portion about ethical deeds. These five words implore us never to remain on the sidelines of those who are in need. These five words are at the heart of our spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days which are just a few weeks away.
On Rosh HaShanah – but even more so on Yom Kippur – we are reminded that we cannot hide from truth and righteousness. We cannot run from our responsibilities to each other. We cannot ignore the needs of the world in which we live.
Thus, this simple commandment stands as an eternal reminder of the moral imperative to remain steadfast in our efforts to make this world a better place by sticking our necks out for others in time of need. This commandment calls us to righteousness. This commandment calls us to hearken to the needs of the poor and the hungry. This commandment calls us to make a shift in the way that we see the world and our responsibilities to society at large. This commandment implores us to pen our eyes and our hearts and be moved from indifference to caring – from blindness to seeing – from complacency to action.