Daily Devotionals Daily Devotionals

God Feels the Pain of His People

God Feels the Pain of His People


Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. — Exodus 24:9-10

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.

In our home, like most Jewish homes, we have multiple tzedakah boxes — receptacles to place money for charity — throughout the house. They encourage giving and generosity in our children. Moreover, they serve as a constant reminder that no matter how comfortable we are in our homes, there are others who are suffering — and we can never forget them.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read that Moses and the men with him beheld a vision of God in which, “Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli.” The Jewish sages explain that the pavement was a brick that God kept with Him at all times while the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. The brick was a symbol of their suffering, and by keeping it in His presence, their pain was always on His mind.

Now, of course God didn’t really need any brick to help Him remember the suffering of the Israelites. However, this vision of God teaches us an important lesson about empathy.

God Feels His People’s Pain

Empathy is different than sympathy. Sympathy is acknowledging someone’s pain. Empathy is feeling someone else’s pain. When the verse tells us that God’s feet were resting on the pavement, it means that God felt the pain of His people. When they suffered, He felt it — their pain was always on His mind.

It is essential that we make empathy a part of our daily lives, but it’s not always easy. It’s hard to relate to the hungry when our refrigerators are full. It’s hard to feel the pain of the homeless when we are in the comfort of our homes. And it’s difficult to remember the bitterness of loneliness when we are surrounded by family. However, with a bit of effort, we can ensure that we don’t become complacent.

There are many ways to stay connected to the suffering of others. We can place physical reminders in our homes, such as charity boxes, and we can stay informed through organizations such as The Fellowship. In this way, we will never become indifferent to the pain of others. Rather, we will do everything we can to alleviate their suffering and make a difference in the world.

Your Turn:

What are your suggestions for cultivating empathy, both for our friends and family who might be going through hard times and for people suffering around the world? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Hebrew Word of the Day

February 11, 2021


Here is my passport. — Hinei ha’darcon sheli.


Yael Eckstein, illustrating Purim lesson on Esther

A Lesson from Esther – For Such a Time as This

Yael shares a lesson from the story of Esther that is not only hopeful and inspiring, but more relevant today than ever before.

Monthly Teaching Resource

The Life of Esther, a Bible Study by IFCJ

The Life of Esther

Learn more about Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, whose courageous stand against persecution saved the lives of the Jewish people with this complimentary Bible study.

How to Help

Elderly Jewish woman in glasses sitting in her home

Give a Holy Gift for Passover

Passover is just a month away. Bring deliverance to vulnerable Jewish people during this holy season. Your special gift of $25 helps provide a lifesaving Passover food box filled with the essentials needed to celebrate this holy season with devotion. Your donation today will not only fill stomachs with special Passover foods, but it will fill spirits with hope.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.