My Brother’s Keeper
“As a good shepherd saves the sheep from the wolves and lions, the leader of Israel, if he is good, saves them from the heathen and the Judgment of below and of above, and guides them into the life of the World to Come.” – The Zohar
You can live a comfortable life just worrying about yourself. It’s natural to be selfish. A lot of us may talk about our desire to help others but when push comes to shove we look out for number one. It’s a rare virtue to feel a sense of responsibility for what others lack – like you’re big enough to help – big enough to lead.
It’s natural to pray for and be concerned with our own needs, our livelihood and health – and for our families needs, their health and joy – and even for a friend in need. But to pray for a nation, and all of humanity, to concern ourselves with a lost brother across the world – that’s not always so natural.
But we find that the holiest sages were not praying for themselves, they were spending all their time praying for humanity – always lifting their brothers and sisters, one by one.
How do we reach this level of prayer and concern for humanity? Who has the time when we have so many personal and familial needs in mind?
The Source chose Moses to lead the nation because He saw him run after a young sheep to bring it back to the pack.
Moses approached the sheep drinking at the water edge and his first reaction was that of compassion for the animal’s thirst. He did not look upon the sheep as rebellious. He was concerned, and thought about how he, as its guide, must not have been considerate enough of its needs.
The Source then recognized Moses as the Shepherd of His people.
Here we learn an important characteristic of effective leadership. The ability to set aside one’s own needs and reactivity, and focus on the needs and well being of others. This transforms the individual into a worthy conduit of Divine mercy – fit to lead, as the Source leads through mercy.
It is taught that the essence of Moses’ soul is alive and included as a part of each and every one of our souls.
The call to saving our brothers and sisters trapped in disconnection, depression and addiction – stranded alone – thirsting for the waters of wisdom – is where the Moses in each one of us seeks to become attuned with.
My soul brother Rav Dror in Jerusalem has been preaching a lot about our obligation to save our brothers and sisters – rebuking us to not leave them in a pit, in a state of constriction, cut off from the sweet waters of wisdom — while we experience the good life – the joy, fulfillment,clarity, purpose and illumination through connection to the Source of all.
Moses was ready to give up his life for the people.
At the pearly white gates, when we plead our case and showcase all of our lovely prayers and righteous acts – if we left behind our brother in the pit, all of what we accomplished is greatly diminished in the eyes of our Father in heaven. “You left your brother, My son, in a pit!”
Think about it. Is there anything more that someone can do for you than to save your child?
Just open your eyes and you will see a brother or sister lost and thirsting. It’s not their rebelliousness; it’s our calling to compassion. It’s our calling to consider our level of concern for their needs – to remember to spend more time walking with them along the waters of life.
We leave as we came, with bare hands. All we take with us is our good deeds. There’s no deed greater in the eyes of our Father than saving His children.
Compassion below generates compassion above. The wise spend their time seeing to the needs of others. It takes a lot of room inside to house and welcome the role of Divine leadership.