Ono Scholar: We must strive to correct spiritual poverty and cultural omission
In an article published in the Makor Rishon newspaper, Dr. David Moshe Bitton, the head of the Department of Judaism at Ono Academic College and Tamar Bitton, the head of the Be’er Midreshet in Yeruham and Ashdod, find guidance in the Torah portion of the week for our modern reality. In the Torah’s teaching about the Sabbatical year, they learn lessons in enriching our spiritual lives and addressing the marginalization of certain streams of Jewish culture. They note that Jewish sages of the Sephardic and Eastern traditions encouraged the acquisition of education and language because they understood that this was the real way to reduce poverty.
They conclude their article saying:
“There is not necessarily an overlap between physical poverty and cultural poverty. We are familiar with companies that are poor in economic terms but which cultivate a rich cultural prosperity. On the other hand, we know of people who have large bank accounts but who have to live on the margins of society because they cannot control their cultural narrative. We are required by the Torah to participate in a Sabbatical of Culture. We must strive for the abolition of identity hierarchies, be attentive to the story of the “impoverished” and those hungry to belong, allowing them to make their own voice heard and sketch out their own narrative. As the sage the “Or HaChayim” teaches us, citing the verse dealing with the Sabbatical using the phrase “With one of your brethren” – “Do not view your brother as a wretch who is inferior to you. Know that your brother is one of the most special people.”
The full article can be found at: https://www.makorrishon.co.il/judaism/255311/