Steven Zvi Gleiberman

Personal Needs Versus Collective Responsibility

In this week’s Parsha, we encounter an intriguing story about the tribes of Gad and Reuven. As the Jewish nation is preparing to enter the Promised Land, these two tribes express desire to settle outside the borders of Israel, specifically in the land east of the Jordan River. Their motivation for this request was the abundance of livestock in that region, which suited their substantial herds. Moshe, however, initially viewed their reluctance to enter Israel as a sign of fear and a potential cause for discouragement amongst the nation, reminiscent of the incident with the spies. Moshe emphasized the importance of the entire nation working together and expressed concerns that their hesitation might have negative ripple-effect repercussions.

To address Moshe’s concerns, the tribes of Gad and Revuen made a commitment. They vowed to lead the charge in battle, fighting on the front lines alongside their brethren until the conquest of the land of Israel was complete. Only after ensuring the safety and success of the nation would they return and settle in the land they desired. Moshe ultimately accepted their proposal and granted them the land east of the Jordan River, on the condition that they fulfill their promise to fight alongside their brothers.

This narrative highlights the significance of unity and collective responsibility, while not negating one’s own personal needs. While the tribes of Gad and Revuen had personal reasons for desiring land outside of Israel, their decision to fight alongside their fellow brethren demonstrated their commitment to the greater cause. It is a reminder that individual desires should not supersede the needs and goals of the community as a whole.

The story of Gad and Reuven teaches us that individual desires must be balanced with the needs of the community. May we strive to embody these principles in our own lives and communities, working together to achieve common goals and support one another in our journeys to a better future, while not losing our individuality and our passions in our own personal goals.

Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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