Nelly Shulman

To be satisfied

On the last day of Pesach, we read a passage from Deuteronomy, commanding us to help those in need. “…the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow in your settlements shall come and eat their fill, so that your God may bless you in all the enterprises you undertake.” (Deuteronomy 14:29). Commenting on the part “eat their fill,” Rashi writes that we should give these people sufficiently so that they can be satisfied.

The act of charity is based on the two types of satisfaction. The needy person receives what they lack, and the person who gives charity gets the emotional and moral fulfillment. In Latin, “satisfy” is derived from two words – “satis” and “facere,” “enough,” and “make.” So the postulate of giving enough to the needy is well-established, but what about eliminating the cause that makes people needy?

Unfortunately we cannot eradicate global hunger, but we can do so much more than assist the needy people. The efforts to help Ukrainian refugees are justifiably laudable. However, without eliminating the very cause of the war that has already produced countless widows and orphans, any charitable deeds will remain only the short-term measures. Without an immediate surrender of Russia, there can never be any satisfaction.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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