Feb 02 2017 Dvar Torah

Hazzan Avraham Alpert Torah 270x306
Hazzan Avraham Alpert

In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, we continue the familiar story where Moses ultimately gains permission, for the entire nation of Israel, to leave Egypt. In this Passover saga our people were ultimately unwanted and molested immigrants who begged to be released. We, the Jewish people, later, learn not to abuse foreigners in the land of Israel, remembering that the Egyptians mistreated us.

The above Biblical narrative is really only directed toward Jews. The gentile nations were not slaves in Egypt; they have no imperative to be kind to strangers or refugees. God, however, did make a covenant with all nations of the world, long before Moses, in the time of Noah. In that agreement seven laws are given. According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 56a), one of those seven regulations demands that every nation must devise its own legal system “dinim.”

Though I am certainly no expert on governmental processes or legal systems, I believe that this country is busy developing its respective dinim. While laws, orders, and regulations are written in America they ought to be logical. Without quoting from the Torah, I am offering my humble opinion, based on logic, to shed light on the immigration debate in this country…

The United States of America ought to continue to be a land open to immigration. We have a moral decision, either to allow people to continue to settle in this country fleeing persecution, or to help them to make their countries of origin places of liberty, prosperity, and justice. We Americans cannot afford to pretend that we have no obligation to help our fellows on this planet.

The only people who have the right to be opposed to immigration into this country are the indigenous Native American "Indians". The rest of us Americans either are the product directly or indirectly of those who were forced to settle here (black Africans), or immigrated to this beautiful and opportune land willfully.

Having said this, we are faced with a real challenge and threat of those who seek to utterly destroy this country. This is why our ports of entry and borders must be secured. It is too easy to enter the US with ill intent. I am a supporter of increased security and protection against violence,terror, and lawlessness; at the same time I support increased immigration.

Visitors or potential immigrants originating from any country may have evil intentions. Our government ought to spend resources to better interview those who wish to visit or settle here. This is not a quick or easy scenario, but a mandatory endeavor.

I pray that our leaders of this country will be able to work together to create better solutions to these difficulties and that our President will accomplish this by reaching out, in kindness, to every member of Congress. This need not be the time for pain and protest. May God help us find our humanity, reason, kindness, and strength; as we strive to value every human life on this small planet, and work to keep these lives safe and peaceful.