Yesterday i drove through Bney-Brak and stopped at a traffic light. An old man with a trolley bag crossed the street. When he reached the other side, the trolley bag stumbled upon the sidewalk and opened and several potatos rolled out onto the driveway. The old man looked miserable. For a brief moment i was sad about the wasted potatos, but immediately understood that for him it’s more than wasted food – he doesn’t have much money to buy it. There’s also the matter of “thou shalt not destroy” (Deut. 20:19) and preparing for the Sabbath. I really wanted to go out and help him, but everything happened too fast. He managed to gather a few of them, but the cars passed every few seconds. He kept looking at the pavement with hope of gathering them all until the last one was smashed by the indifferent cars.
Later i heard on the radio about bird’s flu that was discovered in some kibbutz in the south. It’s headline news. All the birds in the area will be killed. The saddest part was the description of the way they will be killed – “poison will be added to the birds’ drinking water; the government will compensate the farmers”. It would sadden and shock me even if i wouldn’t be a vegetarian. The poor birds, miserable enough as they are, won’t even know that the water they’re drinking will kill them. One day the government will do it to people – in the name of public health, security, order and democracy. They won’t even be anyone left to compensate.