Bread of Blessings

May 7, 2024

Yair, an Israeli whose life was spared amidst the harrowing chaos of the Nova music festival, recently shared his story. At 5:30 am on that fateful October 7th morning, Yair arrived with a group of friends at the music festival unaware of the nightmare that awaited them. Little did he know that he would be the lone survivor of the group, bearing witness to the horrors inflicted by merciless assailants.

To what does he attribute his salvation?

For five years, Yair diligently delivered bread to supermarkets. Every morning, he would bring fresh bread to the stores and take the leftover bread from the previous day, ensuring that no loaf went to waste. He would give the old bread to a righteous man named Yeshayahu, who would donate it to people in need.

Two weeks before the tragic event, Yeshayahu called Yair to tell him about a dream that he had the night before. He envisioned Yair being chased by men with rifles but ultimately emerging unharmed in the merit of Yair’s charitable deeds, particularly his contributions of bread to those who needed it. Two weeks later, the events of the dream unfolded in reality.

In the Torah portion of Kedoshim, we read about the commandments to leave food in the fields for the poor.

This verse describes how a farmer in the land of Israel must leave a corner of his field unharvested and must not collect stalks of grain that fall during harvesting. In a similar vein, forgotten sheaves of grain and small grapes left on the vine must not be collected (Leviticus 19:10). Instead, all of these are left for the poor, ensuring that the less fortunate have access to food. These commandments underscore the importance of compassion and generosity in the biblical tradition, emphasizing the duty to care for those less fortunate.

In Judaism, the principle of giving to those in need is referred to as tzedakah, generally translated as charity. Giving charity is so important that, according to the sages, it protects a person from ill fate, generates blessings and hastens the final redemption.

One peculiar aspect of this law is that even individuals who rely on the charity of others are still obligated to give. This intriguing facet of the laws of charity underscores the depth of this commandment, extending beyond mere assistance for those unable to provide for themselves. Acts of kindness enrich our character, fostering sensitivity, empathy, and humility within us. We are all obligated to give, even those of us who also receive, since the impact of giving is immeasurable and its merit extends far beyond the material realm.

Taking care of those less fortunate is not merely a religious obligation but also a profound moral imperative, one that holds particular resonance in the land of Israel. Yet the story of Yair reminds us that acts of kindness, no matter how small, can have a ripple effect, profoundly impacting both the giver and the receiver.

The Israel365 Charity Fund is dedicated to strengthening and supporting the people of Israel who need our help. Donate to the Israel365 Charity Fund today.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

Shira Schechter

Shira Schechter is the content editor for TheIsraelBible.com and Israel365 Publications. She earned master’s degrees in both Jewish Education and Bible from Yeshiva University. She taught the Hebrew Bible at a high school in New Jersey for eight years before making Aliyah with her family in 2013. Shira joined the Israel365 staff shortly after moving to Israel and contributed significantly to the development and publication of The Israel Bible.

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