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Shmot(Exodus 1:1-6:1)

Thinking of Others


When things are going well for us, we shouldn't close a blind eye to others who aren't so fortunate. Moses grew up as a prince in the house of the Egyptian king and didn't have to suffer the cruel slavery which Pharaoh imposed on the rest of the Jewish people. But instead of comfortably 'staying out of it,' he risked his life to help his less fortunate brothers and taught us a lesson in caring and compassion for all time.

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In our story we meet a vocalist in a band who knew when to be vocal for the less fortunate.

"BANDING TOGETHER"

      The guys set up their instruments for their weekly Sunday jam session. They were all in the school band and every weekend they got together in one of the guys' basements to play good music and dream of making a band of their own.

      "Hey, where's Jay?" asked Steve, the drummer.

      "I don't know," Barry said, "but it's getting late. Let's start without him."

      Steve started a beat, and Barry joined in with his guitar as Phil added the smooth tone of his keyboard. All that was missing was Jay, the singer. They were halfway into the song when Jay came running in, holding the newspaper. He looked upset. They guys stopped playing.

      "Hey, where've you been, man?" Steve asked him.

      Ignoring the question, Jay held up the paper and said, "Did you guys see this? It says there are a lot kids in Israel without any heat in their homes this winter or even winter coats!"

      Barry shook his head. "Gee that's really too bad. Anyway, I'm glad you finally made it. Let's start the song again from the top, okay?"

      Barry started up the beat, but Jay waved his hands to stop him.

      "What's the matter? Your microphone's not working or something?" asked Barry.

      Jay shook his head. "My mike's working fine, but are your ears working? I just told you kids are suffering in the cold and all you can do is say 'too bad' and forget about it? No heat in the winter, can you imagine what that must be like?"

      The guys were getting impatient.

      "Look, Jay," said Steve, "I agree it's sad, but there's nothing we can do about it and really it isn't our problem. Let's just be happy it's nice and warm in here and get down to business and play some tunes."

      Barry and Phil nodded and picked up their instruments. But Jay refused to give up.

      "But we can't just sit here having fun, all warm and comfortable, while our brothers in Israel are shivering," he insisted.

      "What do you want us to do? Turn off our heater and shiver with them?" quipped Barry, now annoyed.

      "Yeah, really," said Phil. "Think about it. There's nothing we can do. We can't just go over there and I don't even have any money to send them. That CD recorder I just bought set my allowance back two months. So let's at least do what we can do and make some music before it gets too late and we've gotta go, okay?"

      The guys all looked sharply at Jay. He was about to give in and then he had an idea.

      "Look, how about if we play music - and help those kids at the same time!" The guys were confused but listened with interest as Jay explained his plan...

      That next Sunday the guys got ready to play as usual, but this time they were not alone. Steve's basement was packed with kids and even adults who had all read the BENEFIT CONCERT FOR ISRAEL'S POOR posters the Jay and his friends had hung up all over the neighborhood.

      The music was great and everyone - band and audience - were really into it. They seemed to like it even more, knowing it was all for a good cause. The concert ended with a standing ovation and when they counted up the money, the guys found that between the tickets sold and the donations at the door, they had enough money to send a very serious check to the fund that was collecting for the poor, cold kids in Israel.

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Ages 3-5

Q. How did Jay's friends feel when Jay first told them about the poor kids suffering from the cold?
A. They felt bad, but since it didn't affect them, they really didn't care enough to do anything about it.

Q. How did Jay feel about the problem?
A. He felt that even though they were comfortable, if there were others who were suffering, they had to get involved and find a way to help.


Ages 6-9

Q. How was Jay's reaction to the newspaper article different from his friends'?
A. Although Jay's friends might have felt bad that other kids were suffering from the cold, they were not moved enough to do anything about it. Jay related to the problem in a much more real way and came up with a way to really help.

Q. How can a person become more sensitive to the hardships of others?
A. It is much easier to be sensitive to the needs of people with whom we feel a connection. If we try to mentally put ourselves in the place of the person with the problem, we will feel it more. Also if we focus how all humanity, as children of God, are really one, we will feel much more connected to others and sensitive to their needs.


Ages 10 and Up

Q. As long as things are going well for us, and we are not hurting anybody else, why should we care if someone else is suffering?
A. At first glance it might appear obvious, but actually it is not, and in fact throughout history there have been many cultures that have not cared. Only by recognizing that there are God-given values and a clear picture of what is right and wrong, does there emerge any solid logical or philosophical basis for caring about anyone's interest other than our own.

Q. How does the connection we have to the oneness of God impact on our ability to be sensitive to others?
A. The more we connect to the oneness of God, the more we grow aware of the reality that all of us are also ultimately one. As we grow in that understanding and actually become more able to feel this oneness, it becomes as natural to care about someone else's needs as it does to care about our own.


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Published: January 14, 2006

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