“Mom, are you sure we are not from Georgia?”, our son asked me after he heard about the two-year-old Imri Chai, the child who is in need of a bone marrow transplant due to a rare genetic blood disease. In a special operation that will be held for him tomorrow, at Ezer MiZion, they are looking for donors who are from either Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Armenia or Georgia.
Last night I spoke with Or’el, Imri’s mother. She and her husband Eli live in Moshav Gilat in the south. The bone marrow drive was postponed by one week because of the rockets from Gaza, and now it is a race against time. “It is as if the entire People of Israel together enlisted themselves to help us”, she said. “To all those who kvetch about the hatred and division amongst the People, I suggest coming here and seeing what goes on, on my phone. We get so many phone calls and messages from people, who all they want to do is help us search for a suitable donor, all over the country and all over the world. It gives us so much hope and optimism. My husband Eli said to me yesterday something amazing: ‘Or’el, you know? Israel is a good place to be at in time of trouble.’ It is the most powerful sentence I’ve heard in the past two years, since Imri was born and started fighting for his life.”
In this week’s Portion, BeHar, several situations are depicted, in which one must help his fellow human being. The Torah chooses to describe it as follows: “You shall not wrong your brother”, “If your brother becomes poor”, and “that your brother may live with you”. In all of these instances, we are not talking about biological brothers. The words “client”, “tenant”, “neighbor” could replace the word “brother”. The Torah commentators explain that the Torah chooses the word “brother” to convey a message: the society we should establish in Israel is supposed to be based on fraternity.