This week, we read parshat Behar-Bechukotai. Our middah is: “Help others feel respected.” The middah is derived from a verse that states: “If your fellow person falters, or their 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 someone who is “with you,” and you must help him or her be able to live “with you”—by your side. This is true whether the person is “achikha”—your brethren—or a stranger or resident in your land.
Our dignity is affected when we struggle physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. We suffer even more when our struggles separate us from the community in some way. To help someone “live with you” means to help a person be a full participant in your community, despite his or her struggle.
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.