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Faces on Faith: As Thanksgiving approaches

By RABBI STEPHEN LEWIS FUCHS - | Nov 3, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs

For many years, I have pondered the contradiction found in the fifteenth chapter of Deuteronomy. Verse four says: “There shall be no needy among you.” But a few sentences later in verse eleven, we read, “The poor shall never cease out of the land.” As Thanksgiving approaches, I have written the following poem to address the contradiction.

Thanksgiving soon will be here,

A grand and special day,

So I opened up the Good Book

To see what it has to say.

I find in Deuteronomy

A glorious proclamation:

“There shall be no needy among you

In any land or nation!” (15:4)

What a glorious vision that is!

If only it were true,

But I note a few lines further

That we have much work to do

“There will never cease to be those in want,” (15:11)

The very next paragraph reads.

How can two such opposite views

Be almost rubbing knees?

The answer lies between

The conflicting thoughts we heard,

But we must follow closely

And take to heart God’s words!

There will be no poor about!

That will only happen when,

All of us work together

To make that time “Now,” not “Then!”

But we all know the time’s not near

When all will heed God’s wish

So those of us who really care

Must step up to the dish.

Those of us who’ll read this

Are comfortable no doubt.

But all too many on God’s earth

Surely do without

Without a home to keep them dry

And clothes to keep them warm

From snow and sleet and wind and rain

From every passing storm

Others strive just to exist

Without enough to eat

Try feeding five on minimum wage.

That’s surely no mean feat.

And don’t forget those in our midst

Who have much that they own,

But suffer sadness deep inside

And feel so all alone.

Loneliness was always real

But now things are much worse

In this time of the Pandemic

It’s a veritable curse.

“For just such a time as this,” (Esther 4:4)

God calls on us to serve

Because so many suffer

And lack what they deserve

A sense that life has purpose

And hope for a new day

Will continue to elude too many

Before Corona goes away.

So let’s focus on the “Giving”

This coming holiday

To enrich the lives of those who lack

In a meaningful way!

There is so much

That still needs to be done,

Before our world and God’s will

Truly become one!

May we give thanks for all our blessings

With hearts and hands unfurled

To embrace God’s challenge to us

To repair our broken world!

Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs is with the Bat Yam Temple of the Islands.