Welcome to another exciting Parsha. As Rabbi Nachman said – the Parsha is about you and me. It Is Va’yetzei. Let’s learn and connect to what has kept the Jewish people alive and vibrant over the last 2000 years and is more relevant than ever.
So, When Dr. Moshe Rothkopt shared this beautiful insight it got me thinking that we take Food, Water, and Clothes for granted, and we are not conscious of the lack of basics necessities that a large proportion of the world does not have. So, in effect, Yaakov when asking for Food, Water, and Clothes, he was asking for an Important need. On the mystical level, He was asking for the whole world and future mankind.
Reb Shlomo said ”I never understood the significance of what Yaakov meant when he asked for bread to eat and clothes to wear until he met a man who survived concentration camp and Siberia. In concentration camp, he would trade whatever little clothes he had for a little bread to stay alive. In Siberia he would trade his food for clothes to stay alive. How he prayed that the food he had was for eating and the clothes he had was for wearing”
Thank God most of us in the 1st world Countries have what to eat. We probably do not really appreciate the Kindness and the gift that we have when we eat. Are we Mindful of this gift when we say a simple prayer before eating an Apple? Are we conscious of all the needed steps to plant and nurture the Tree, getting the Fruit to the Store, the texture, and taste that makes the Apple a day a pleasurable experience?
And are we conscious of the Worldwide poverty pandemic? This is the UN Number one Sunstanstainable Goal of the Poverty Pandemic,
“More than 700 million people, or 10 per cent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty today, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, the poverty rate in rural areas is 17.2 per cent—more than three times higher than in urban areas#
But Yaakov also asked for Water. This is UN Sustainable Number Six Goal – to Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Currently, 3 billion lack basic water needs.
So, what can we do to help this situation? In fact quite a lot. The World has become more aware of this, including the Business World which in the end is about people through the Continued adoption of ESG.
And you make ask what is ESG? The leading Accounting firm KPMG summarises this in an insightful way – For many, the term “ESG” brings to mind environmental issues like climate change and resource scarcity. These form an element of ESG—and an important one—but the term means much more. It covers social issues like a company’s labor practices, talent management, product safety, and data security. It covers governance matters like board diversity, executive pay, and business ethics. But there is a divide amongst stakeholders on how to manage and communicate it and what the term even means”
I am taking up the challenge of learning and sharing ESG. For me, ESG = Tikkun Olam which means repairing the world which is a key teaching of Judaism. I have started an Initiate called “ Where Innovation meets ESG”
For more reading on this see https://cfo-israel.com/esg
I want to share a few examples of some Jewish and Israeli Initiatives to combat some of these imbalances. These are all Inspiring stories.
Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, is the leading food rescue organization in Israel. Unique among all other organizations that serve the poor in Israel and food banks worldwide, Leket Israel’s sole focus is rescuing healthy, surplus food and delivering it to those in need through partner nonprofit organizations. They also sponsor an annual food waste report.
The issue of Food Waste, alternatives to eating meat, better water, and agriculture are key aims of reducing poverty.
For 12 years, using Israeli solar and water technology, Innovation: Africa has delivered access to clean water and light to more than 2 million people across 10 African countries for the first time.
Tevel is an Israeli NGO that aims to create Israeli and Jewish leadership passionately engaged in Tikkun Olam—fixing the world—locally and globally. Hailing from Israel and Jewish communities worldwide, our volunteers work with impoverished communities in Nepal, to enhance and advance the livelihood, capacity, and wellbeing of their members.
This may seem like a strange inclusion in these examples, but the JNF has been a leader in Climate Change in the Innovation of planting Trees and Forests.
I hope that some of the ideas and inspiration that we have learned here from Yaakov’s Prayer will help us make the world a better place.
Hopefully, Israel will not only be the Hitech Startup Nation, but also the ESG / Tikkun Olam Nation and be a light unto the Nations.
The Featured Video is about how we can find Inspiration in Tikkun Olam.- about the organization started by Rabbi Micha Odenheimer, a disciple of Reb Shlomo Carlebach.
.Photos Sourced from UN Sustainable Goals Resources