Creating a Safe Environment

Yael Eckstein  |  September 7, 2022

Four children sitting on the floor eating apples.

When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof. — Deuteronomy 22:8

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Ki Teitzei, which means “when you go out,” from Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19.

As a mother, I put a lot of thought into what kind of home I want for my children. At the top of my list is that my home must be a place where my children know they are safe and loved. It can be easy to take these basic needs for granted, but through my work with The Fellowship, I regularly come into contact with homes that are not safe, in one way or another.

I think of the children in war-torn Ukraine who had to share the couch because they couldn’t afford beds. Or the Israeli children who live under constant threat of rockets being fired at their homes by terrorists.

Let’s just say that I’ve learned that safety is not just about seatbelts and childproof medicine bottles.

Creating a safe environment is so much more than merely avoiding death or injury. It’s about anticipating dangers and solving them before they become real problems. When we take active steps to creating a safe environment, we demonstrate that we value human life.

Creating a Safe Environment

The Bible teaches the importance of ensuring our homes are safe in this week’s Torah portion. We read, “When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof.”

You might be asking yourself, “Did the Bible really need to tell me that?” After all, it’s basic safety, right? But the truth is that there’s a bigger lesson here.

In biblical times, most homes had flat roofs. They used their roofs for laundry, for drying fruit, and for a host of other household activities. Now think about it. Why would someone choose to not build a parapet, a protective fence, around their roof?

The answer is obvious. Money. They would be choosing to save a few dollars, or shekels, thinking, “I’ll just be careful.” To this thinking, the Bible says, no.

The Bible is telling us that if we put saving money ahead of human safety, we can’t hide behind the excuse that the person who was hurt should have been more careful. We are liable. The protection of human life — created in God’s image — by creating a safe environment must be a top priority.

Your Turn:

Help us provide Israeli children with a safe environment. Make your gift to The Fellowship’s Guardians of Israel program today.

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