Monday, June 04, 2007

Rabbi Willy Wolff: heart, soul and might

One commandment in the Torah seems uncannily to have been almost written with Ester in mind. For she observed it bechol levavah, with all her great heart, oovechol nufshah, with all her rich soul, oovechol me’odah, and with all her considerable might. It is to be found in the 33rd and 34th verses of the 19th chapter of the Book of Vayikra, Leviticus. And it commands: “When a stranger lives with you in your land, do not ill treat that stranger. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love that stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in Egypt. I am the Eternal Your God.” On which Rashi comments in three words: “Elloheycha Ve’Ellohav Anni—I am Your God and his God.”

Ester in her adult life gave the most concrete, human-contact form to the commandment to love the stranger. With that she blessed our needy society so abundantly. And so can we bless this society for every moment that we follow her example.