This week we read the double parshah Behar-Bechukotai. Our middah is, “Help others feel respected.” The middah is derived from a verse that states: “If your fellow person falters, or strength is diminished with you, you must bolster this person — both stranger and resident — to live with you.” The verse teaches us more than the importance of helping those in need. It emphasizes that the person in need is one who is “with you”, and you must help him or her in order to be able to live “with you.” To be in need and to have our physical or emotional strength diminished affects our sense of self, and our sense of dignity. When someone helps us in our need, they provide not only the necessary support, but also a sense of respect and dignity. To help someone “live with you,” means to help a person participate with strength and dignity in our community.
This Shabbat, may we all find ways to strengthen those in need, so that they can “live with us,” as full members of our community.