Showing compassion to the world is very important, but not at the expense of feeding hungry Jews. If we don’t step up, no one else will.
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” Hillel said. But then he added, “But when I am for myself alone, what am I?”
The tension undeniably exists for every single Jew. The dilemma of how to triage our precious charity resources must weigh upon all of us. For us to see the horrors of recent natural disasters in Haiti and Japan and do nothing is surely inhuman and un-Jewish. But to make Japan and Haiti our primary focus and to forget about Israel’s needs and the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world is to say that my brother and sister are no different from the stranger, and that, too, is wrong.
Rabbi N. Daniel Korobkin, “Give Until It Hurts”, The Jewish Journal (29 April – 5 May 2011), 33.