Bridging the Gap
Between Deuteronomy 15:4 and 15:11
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!
7 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Prayer”
It reminds me, Rabbi Fuchs, of Rabbi Tarfon’s quote that we are not obligated to complete the task at hand, … but neither are we free to abandon it.
I Hope that you, your wife, and the members of your community experience a very thankful Thanksgiving, Rabbi Fuchs.
Always, Mark Loveland
Thank you, Mark. Rabbi Tarfon is one of my favorite Sages.
This is a lovely poem and heartfelt poem, Rabbi. Nicely done!
Thank you, Susan! Happy Thanksgiving!
Beautiful prayer and poem… right on point… thanks dear Rabbi!
Many thanks, Yancy! We are so grateful for your friendship!