Caring for the Widows and the Orphans

Yael Eckstein  |  January 25, 2022

children praying by the Western Wall. Learn lessons from Leviticus

Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. — Exodus 22:22

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Mishpatim, which means “laws,” from Exodus 21:1–24:18.

Today, I would like to talk to you about some of the most important work that we do at The Fellowship.

In Israel, more than 800,000 children live in poverty and their needs are largely left unmet due to Israel’s focus on defense spending to protect these same children from terrorism and war. We work tirelessly with the support of our Christian friends around the world to address the critical needs of impoverished children and orphans in Israel by providing food, medicine, and clothes.

In the former Soviet Union, there are thousands of orphaned Jewish children living under the worst conditions imaginable and many others suffering from debilitating poverty. Our Isaiah 58 ministry here helps provide safe places to live and essentials like food and medicine to donate to orphans and the poorest of the poor children in the former Soviet Union. This project is based on the biblical call,” to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter when you see the naked, to clothe them” (Isaiah 58:7).

But the Book of Isaiah is not the first time the Bible calls upon us to pay special attention to those who are most in need.

Caring for the Widows and the Orphans

In this week’s Torah portion, the Bible commands: “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless” (Exodus 22:22). Now, at first glance this verse seems like a strange thing for the Bible to tell us. Why would we need to be commanded not to take advantage of widows and orphans? Are we really so cruel that the Bible had to tell us that?

The Hebrew word for “take advantage” is te’anu, which really means “to make suffer.” God knows that in the daily life of a community, those who come from needy and broken families can often be ignored or misspoken to, even without ill intent. Our negligence in caring for the poor and broken is often the result of going about our lives and simply not paying enough attention. We contribute to their suffering, and we don’t even realize it.

At The Fellowship, we work tirelessly caring for the widows and the orphans, making sure the neediest among us are loved and not forgotten.

Your Turn:

Please sow into the work of The Fellowship and help the orphans and widows in Israel and around the world!