Our Torah portion this week is Re’eh – Deut. 11:26-16:17. In chapter 15, Moses continues to speak to the people about what to expect as they come into the new land. “There shall be no needy among you – since the Eternal your God will bless you in the land that the Eternal your God is giving you as an inheritance – if only you will heed the Eternal your God and keep all this Instruction that I enjoin upon you this day.” (15:4-5) Here’s the thing… If you play by the rules, there will be plenty for all. That makes sense. We know that there certainly are ways we can treat each other and care for (and about) each other that make for a just and compassionate society.
But… Moses goes on to warn the people that, “If there is a needy person among you… do not harden your heart and shut your hand against [that person]… For, there will never cease to be needy ones in your land… open your hand to the poor and needy in your land.” (15:7,11)
One the one hand, we are told that there will be plenty. On the other hand, not only are we told that there just might be a needy person… we then find out that there will never cease to be poor and needy among us!
The fact is that these verses go hand on hand. The fact is that there are enough resources to go around. The fact is that it is up to us to make sure they are distributed fairly; that no one should have to go hungry.
Indeed, it is up to us… to open our hands and our hearts.