Notice the cracks

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The financial, physical, and emotional state of many people is not too good at the moment. This means that we must be especially aware of and sensitive to others – to support them and not ignore their distress.
In this week’s Torah portion we are told about someone whose financial situation begins to deteriorate. What must be done? “And you shall support him” it is written and Rashi explains: “Do not allow him to fall down and collapse altogether” but rather “support him from the moment he begins to falter.” He compares this to a donkey who carries a heavy load. If the load begins to sway, one person can stabilize it. But once the load falls to the ground and scatters, not even five people will be able to put it back to how it was before. What’s the conclusion? We must make every effort to find the first cracks in the other’s condition before things start to deteriorate.
Many commentators write that this instruction is not only applicable to someone’s financial condition but also to his emotional state, whether we are talking about marriage troubles or problems in our children’s education. It’s desirable to address crises when they begin, to identify them early, and not to wait for an explosion. To open our eyes in relation both to others and to ourselves, and to try and see what’s going on before it’s too late.

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