Kenneth Cohen

Kindness to the Widow

There are certain Mitzvot in the Torah that has special emphasis as to its importance. One such example, applies to our treatment of the widow.

The Talmud explains that the need to treat widows with care and compassion, applies to all widows. It makes no difference if we are speaking of a wealthy widow, or a poor one. A widow is a widow, and she is in a difficult situation.

The warning of the Torah is very serious. We are told that if we are guilty of mistreating a widow, then our wives will become widows, and our children will become orphans.

The Ibn Ezra even goes a step further to show the severity of violation of this commandment. He says that if we see someone else mistreating a widow, and we don’t do anything to stop it, we are equally guilty of this transgression.

There are certainly a number of widows that we encounter in our daily lives. We must remember to make an extra effort to show kindness and patience to these less fortunate women.

Perhaps we can think of ways how we can fulfill this Mitzva in a better way. Maybe some of our Tzedaka funds should go towards helping the widows. Or, we might find a way to spend some time providing friendship with a widow.

If the warning of mistreatment of the widow is so strong, it makes sense that the reward for acting as we should, is very great. In any case, there should certainly be a greater awareness that this often forgotten Mitzva, should be at the forefront of our minds.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at