This Shabbat:

Friday Candle Lighting: 7:24 PM

Shabbat Ends: 8:24 PM

Torah Message:


“For they are My servants, whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold in the manner of a slave.” (25:42)


While the murder of George Floyd has brought about a racial reckoning in the United States of America, that’s a very different thing from saying it has brought about racial reconciliation. African-Americans will see justice in this verdict, but so many are looking for fairness and equality in all the aspects of their lives. Fairness and equality must begin with humility and respect.

Some nineteen hundred years ago, twenty-four thousand pupils of Rabbi Akiva died because they did not give each other sufficient respect. Clearly, our work as Jews in the time of the Omer is to increase our respect for others. But that is easier said than done. The truth is it is much easier to see flaws in other people than in ourselves. What we see in others as stingy, we see in ourselves as careful. Where others seem to us loud and brash, we are exuberant.

Here is an idea that helped me: Try and catch other people doing good things. I do not mean rushing into burning buildings to rescue people or facing down a terrorist who is carrying a loaded gun. I am not talking about heroism. Just noticing how nice people are. I remember seeing someone driving a car down the street and he was just about to run over a child’s toy. He stopped the car, got out, and put the toy by the side of the road. He did not have to do that. It was just a nice thing to do.

I will give you another example. I live in an area where there are lots of children. When the kids take out the garbage, they often do not have enough strength to heft the trash into the bin and it gets left by the side of the dumpster — much to the delight of the neighborhood cats. I often see someone picking up the trash and putting it into the bin. That person is not going to get a medal for that. It is just a nice thing to do. Try and catch someone doing something right once a day until the end of the Omer on Shavuot, and you will start to think, “You know, people are really quite nice. Maybe they are as nice as me.” And once I can admit that other people could be as nice as me, maybe I might start to think they could actually be nicer than me — and that’s the beginning of humility. And that’s the source of respect for others.