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November 10, 1995 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

,

ATTENTION HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
AND THEIR FAMILIES

Since the late 1950's, the Jewish Family Service has assisted large numbers of Holo-
caust survivors successfully file claims against the German government.

In accordance with the Jewish Family Service's records management policy, records
of deceased clients would normally be destroyed. However, due to the historical
and archival significance of these records, they will be turned over to the Detroit
Holocaust Memorial Museum in December.

These are NOT clinical records. They document location, sites of internment and
abuses, perpetrated by the Nazis and are of crucial archival significance. Access to
these records will be carefully monitored to main confidentiality.

,

If you are the next of kin to a deceased survivor who filed a claim against the Ger-
man government and do NOT want your relative's file to be archived at the Holo-
caust Museum, call the Jewish Family Service at 559-1500 to arrange to pick up
your relative's file. All files must be picked up by November 30.

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Character Is Revealed
In Our Daily Actions

RABBI RICHARD C. HERTZ SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

ir

he sedrah begins with a fa-
miliar story of Abraham sit-
ting at his tent; looking up,
he saw three men ap-
proaching him. Ever the hos-
pitable host, Abraham invited the
three strangers to come to his
tent and rest from their weary
journey. It was a mitzvah to in-
vite traveling strangers into his
tent.
Abraham had Sarah outdo
herself in preparing a sumptuous
meal, little knowing that the
three strangers had come with a
mission to tell Abraham that he
was to have an heir and that
Sarah would have a son. When
Sarah overheard that the three
strangers predicted a baby, she
laughed to herself or maybe out
oud. She thought she was too old
to bear a child. But they re-
sponded, "Is anything too won-
drous for the Lord?" She was
chastised for laughing, but the
strangers said a year from now
she would have a son.
Abraham reminds one of the
old man standing at the well of
his village and greeting weary
travelers who passed along the
way. Whenever the old man was
asked, `What kind of people live
in your village!" He would en-
counter with a question of his
own, 'What kind of people did
you find in your village?" To trav-
elers who complained that their
village was filled with people who
were selfish, dishonest, incon-
siderate, he would shake his head
and reply, "Alas, the same type
of people live here." But for those
travelers that stated where they
lived were people friendly, warm,
understanding, and hospitable,
the old man would counter the
answer, "We have exactly the
same type of people living here."
People often find what they are
looking for. One man will see syn-
agogues. Another will see noth-
ing but bars. One person will find
men and women dishonest,
shrewd, and jealous. Another will
find people offering friendship.
What a person finds is what each
one is looking for.
Jews are taught to seek
beauty, character, and nobility in
others; but, unfortunately, most
people are concerned with their
own bodies and their neighbors'
souls. To improve our world we
should leave our neighbors' souls
alone and instead worry about
our neighbors' bodies and their
own welfare.

Dr. Richard C. Hertz is
distinguished professor of
Jewish studies at the University
of Detroit-Mercy.

Abraham's hospitality shows
that he truly loved his fellow
man. Once the rabbi of Saasov
taught his disciples the meaning
of love in this way. There was a
conversation between two of his
disciples. The first said, "Tell me,
do you love me?" "I love you
deeply," replied the second. Said
the first, "Do you know, my
friend, what gives me pain!" "No,
what gives you pain?" answered
the second. Said the first, "If you
do not know what gives me pain,
how can you say that you truly
love me!" The rabbi was trying to
teach his disciples that to truly
love means to know what brings
pain to your fellow man.
The sedrah continues with the
famous story of Sodom and Go-
morrah.
After taking the hospitality of
Abraham the three strangers set
off towards Sodom. Abraham was
somehow privy to the decision
about Sodom. Their evil ways and
their lack of hospitality had been
known to Abraham repeatedly.
When Sodom had visitors, they
brought them inside their tents.
If their feet were too long for the
bed, the Sodomites cut off the
feet. The people of Sodom and Go-
morrah were insensitive to the
suffering of others. They prac-

Shabbat Veyera:
Genesis 18:1-22:24
II Kings 4:1-37.

ticed sexual perdition and licen-
tiousness. They had no concern
for the welfare of strangers and
because of their depravity and
corruption; because they showed
no hospitality to strangers, they
were being punished.
Abraham having known about
Sodom and Gomorrah began to
argue with God as mankind's
first lawyer. Abraham was not
like Noah, indifferent to the fate
of his fellow beings. He was con-
cerned, disturbed. Three times
Abraham pleads with God. Abra-
ham was moved by compassion
to speak and bargain with God,
even though the people of Sodom
and Gomorrah were depraved
pagans, Abraham's universal
faith moved him to plead with the
universal God to spare the people
of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Shall
the judge of all the earth deal
justly?" Abraham's passion for
justice and righteousness insisted
that the innocent not have to suf-
fer with the guilty even if the
innocent were a minority.
Then comes the bargaining.

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