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Hungrier Than Locusts

02/02/2017 01:47:23 AM

Feb2

There are many plagues in the world, and disagreement as to how to respond to them.  I will continue to address those in other venues, but this week as I enter Shabbat, I want to focus on one thing that we can all agree  will bring a bit of light: fighting hunger.   Hunger is in fact among the three worst of the 10 plagues, as locusts consume the crops of the Egyptians.  

Locusts were a common scourge in the Ancient Near East, and many contemporary reports describe their awesome consumptive and destructive power.  What made this particular swarm of locusts so oppressive, so that the Torah tells us that the plague will be (Exodus 10:6)  “like nothing that your ancestors have seen, for all their time on the land until today?”

 One commentator suggest that the answer lies in the previous verse “they will cover the  view of the land, and the land shall not been seen, and they shall eat even the leftover crops.”  One might understand this in a literal way- the locusts will be so thick that one will not be able to see the earth.  However, a creative reading gives us a deeper meaning.   The locusts will be so thick that they themselves will not be able to see what they are eating.  They will consume blindly.  Typically, animals eat only to the point of satiation.   These locusts will cause even greater damage because they will consume everything mindlessly, even the stubble and the splintered tree-stumps left behind by the hail, which have no nutritional value.  This is the true horror of the locusts.

 There are a number of ways that we can apply this to our own lives.  Those of us who diet know that if we eat without paying attention- while watching TV or talking or working- we do not derive the same pleasure, or feel as full as if we had paid attention to each bite. On a deeper level, we understand the dangers of blind consumption beyond means and needs.  If we engage in it, the consequences are negative for all.    If we can be mindful of that which we consume and that which we leave to replenish, thenthere remains room for blessing.

 

Coming up in just over a month, we will have an opportunity to ensure that all are able to eat.  Hunger Walk, March 5, 2017 at Turner Field.  Please join our entire Jewish community to help fight hunger.  We can take great pride in knowing that the Jewish community has always made a tremendous impact through its participation in the Hunger Walk.  Support the Atlanta community at-large under our synagogue banner by clicking on http://engage.acfb.org/goto/CBT2017

Fri, October 18 2019 19 Tishrei 5780