“The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference”
In this week’s Torah portion, we read a powerful commandment from the Book of Deuteronomy which pre-dates these words by Eli Wiesel by about 5,000 years. 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. They implore us never to remain on the sidelines of those who are in need. Through this commandment we are reminded that when we remain indifferent, we leave ethical and moral decision making completely in the hands of others. When we remain indifferent, we are basically saying: “This wrongful situation is someone else’s problem.”
This commandment not to be indifferent is also central to the High Holiday Season which is just around the corner. On Rosh Hashanah – but even more so on Yom Kippur – we are reminded that we cannot hide from truth and righteousness.
This commandment calls upon 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 open our eyes and our hearts and be moved from indifference to caring – from blindness to seeing – from complacency to action.
As we prepare for the Holiest Season of the year, let us hearken to this commandment and commit ourselves to standing up for what is right and just in the world.