Self Expression Magazine

There's a Mitzvah for That.

By Challahbackgirl

There's a Mitzvah for That.

Family members holding pictures of their missing loved ones.

As my first post in the There's a Mitzvah for That series noted, the quip "There's an app for that" has not only become part of pop culture, there really is an abundance of apps to be had for the downloading. And in this era of fast fashion, designers and stores have launched apps that make it easier than ever to shop.
But we also paid witness to the unfortunate consequences of instant clothing gratification with the recent tragedy in Bangladesh. Thankfully, the resulting outrage has translated into demands for safe working environments around the world. We may take for granted this idea that human beings have responsibilities for each other, but all safety standards can be traced back to the Torah, which commands us to place a parapet (a protective wall) around our respective roofs, so as not to cause bloodguilt from anyone who falls. At the time the Torah was given, a roof was flat and often used as an open room for sleeping and so on, and the Rambam expounded upon this to include anything that could cause harm. In short, simply refraining from harming someone isn't enough; we must also protect others from harm.
My point on this is twofold. First, as an observant Jew, I am constantly faced with dismissive attitudes toward halacha and its relevancy. Cases such as this one demonstrate the eternal truths of Torah-based Judaism and everything it has contributed to Western civilization. And second, in a global economy, our responsibilities have expanded. Our "neighbor" is no longer just the guy coming over for dinner on the rooftop; he is the garment worker in Bangladesh, the Apple factory employee in China, the coffee farmer in Indonesia. On a micro or macro level, we have to look out for one another. How do we know this? How do we know in our gut that hundreds of people dying from a poorly constructed building collapsing is just wrong?
Because there's a mitzvah for that. Let's apply it wherever we can, lest the bloodguilt fall on us.

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