See Something, Do Something

Friday, 3 November, 2023 - 8:16 am

I am fielding lots of calls these days. Some are from people seeking to support us and to support the people in Israel. Others are seeking reassurance and support themselves.

And, others are asking me for advice on how to solve the problems in the Middle East and prevent the like of October 7.

To be honest, these are my least favorite questions. First of all, I don’t have all the answers. Second of all – let’s take a peak at this week’s Parsha.


When 99-year-old Avraham is recovering from circumcision he sees three men passing by. The Torah states, “And he lifted his eyes and saw, and behold, three men were standing beside him, and he saw and he ran toward them.”

Why does the Torah state twice that Avraham saw the men?

Perhaps one lesson Avraham is teaching us is the proper response when we see a troubling or perplexing situation.

Avraham sensed that these were important people (they were indeed the Archangels Michael, Gavriel and Raphael) and their presence certainly was out of the ordinary. What were they doing in middle of the desert? Easily Avraham could have slipped into analyzing mode. He could then slip further into fact-finding or interrogation mode.

But instead Avraham springs into action. He immediately runs toward them and invites them in. If they are traveling in the wilderness they must be hungry. And thirsty. And tired.

For many of us, we are intrigued by what we see and this curiosity leads us to further investigate what we see. But the Torah emphasizes that all Avraham did was see. He did not ask or research. He saw and he acted.

It’s not because Avraham was incapable of both acting and researching or advocating. Avraham was the consummate attorney, activist and believer – all wrapped in one. It’s because he realized that the moment called for action. Anything else would be insincere, inconsiderate, and ineffective.


Perhaps, at some point it will be appropriate to review the causes of the horrific and savage attacks of October 7. But now our duty is simply to leap forward to help others.

Instead of pondering, spend that time supporting your fellow Jews. Spend that time reciting another prayer or Chapter of Psalms. Spend that time uplifting a friend who is down. Spend that time giving more tzedakah to help them.

This is a time of need. Let us learn from Avraham and offer a helping hand to those in need. We’ll reflect on it another time.

May Almighty G-d answer our prayers and bring an immediate end to this suffering.

Comments on: See Something, Do Something

Janet Lawrence wrote...

Thank you for your wise words Rabbi! I am grateful for your perspective!

Colton wrote...

Thank you rabbi. Now really is a time for action, if we get too lost in thought we'll lose sight of what's happening around us.