Learn from the Needy

Yael Eckstein  |  August 12, 2022

elderly woman with food box

One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
    but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. —
Proverbs 27:7

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Are we too pampered? In the early nineties, just after the fall of the Soviet Union, there were devastating food shortages throughout the former Eastern Bloc countries. A good friend of mine, a Jewish educator, traveled to Estonia in 1992 as part of a project to bring Jewish education to the Jewish community there.

He told me about the empty supermarket shelves he saw there, about the long lines in the outdoor market when a shipment of any food item came to town. But one anecdote really stuck with me. He told me about a 14-year-old boy who was considered to be one of the wealthier kids in town. His friends were all jealous of him because he had received a banana for his birthday. A banana!

None of his friends had ever tasted a banana before. His parents used some connections they had to have it brought from another city. “I’ll never forget listening to him try to explain to his friends how it tasted,” my friend told me.

Learn from the Needy

Whenever I think of this story I wonder if we have lost our ability to enjoy God’s gifts because we have so much in our lives. Proverbs teaches us how having too much can dull our senses to God’s gifts. We read, “One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.”

This verse teaches us that whether or not we sense sweetness is more about us than it is about the thing we are tasting. When our lives are filled with every pleasure at our fingertips, it is far more difficult to appreciate the gifts that God has provided. Our numbness to the enjoyments of God’s Creation leads to greater distance from God Himself.

When we serve the poor, when we get involved in their lives, we also learn from the needy. Their deep appreciation and enjoyment of basic necessities is a humble reminder that so much that we take for granted is a gift from God to be savored.

Your Turn:

Help bring a smile to the face of the hungry. Help The Fellowship feed the needy of Israel today.