For the week of May 25, 2002 / 4 Sivan 5762
Torah: Bemidbar / Numbers 4:21 - 7:89
Haftarah: Shoftim / Judges 13:2-25

Future Generations - Our Responsibility

Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Shoftim / Judges 13:4,5).

This week's Haftarah is about the birth of Samson. In this story we read how an angel came to Manoah and his wife and told them that they would become the parents of this special child. Among the things told them were instructions regarding some of what Manoah's wife was to do in preparation for Samson's birth. Since Samson was to be a Nazarite - a Nazarite being someone who placed himself under a vow to live a restricted lifestyle - his mother to be had to live a similar lifestyle, being allowed to only eat and drink certain things.

Samson's special life began with his mother. The obligations that were to be upon him had to be upon her first. His life did not begin at birth, but at conception if not before that. How his mother lived would have a direct effect upon him.

There is some confusion in our society today as to the relationship of the unborn child to his mother to be. Sayings like "a woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body" have distracted people from the truth of the responsibility we have towards our future generations.

It would be wrong to lay all responsibility on the mother to be. We need to see how all of us - the fathers to be, as well as the parents' relatives and friends - play a great role in the kind of life the child will have. Of course the mother has a direct relationship to the child that is unique, but all of us would do well to see how our lives have an effect on the generations to come. This applies to everything from how we are polluting our air to how seriously we take sspiritual things.

The truth is that every child is a sacred trust. From the moment of conception these new lives are placed in the care of others. Having the right to do what we want with our own bodies can only be right until what we do with our bodies affects others. At that point those others have the right to be given care and protection. More than that! Do we not have the responsibility to ensure that each person has the opportunity to be all they are called to be? Maybe not everyone will have the calling of a Samson, but are we to be so selfish as to put our desires ahead of other people, let alone these most vulnerable ones , the unborn.

Every time we choose our desires, goals, or well-being ahead of others, we are claiming that we are of greater importance than they. We so often fail to notice the obvious that God has created the world in such a way that one generation is the preparation for the next. While each one of us has a different role to play, we need to realize that we need to live our own lives in such a way that we will enhance the lives of those who will come after us.

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