In the Torah Minute, I stay away from “politics”.
And I don’t usually comment on the passing of public officials.
But Rep. Tom Lantos, who passed away recently, was unique.
“He’s been referred to as “the moral authority of congress”.
Tom created the Congressional Human Rights Caucus to fight human rights abuses all over the world.
One of the world’s largest companies was accused of complying with an oppressive regime.
And when two top officials of the company defended themselves before Congress?
Lantos got up and said, “While technologically and financially you are giants?
Morally, you are pigmies!”
That’s very impressive.
But still not enough to get into a Torah Minute!
… So why am I talking about Tom Santos?
Because Tom Lantos was a Holocaust survivor.
And like every single Holocaust survivor?
He makes me feel humble. And he also inspires me.
Because he had the strength to go on and rebuild his life.
And while the Nazis tried to destroy his humanity?
He kept it.
And his response to his suffering was just what the Torah demands.
“Do not be unjust to the stranger or the orphan… Remember that you were slaves in Egypt.”
The Torah tells us that suffering doesn’t give us privileges.
It gives us an obligation.
To always be sensitive to the suffering of others!
… Most of us are not Holocaust survivors.
And none of us are members of Congress.
(If I’m wrong about the last one, please let me know!)
But we all have our challenges in life.
And we should do whatever we can to improve the situation.
But we should also remember what the Torah says.
And like Tom Santos?
We should feel obligated to reach out to someone else in pain.
All the best,