This past week, I was shaken to my core. I was in the local pharmacy when I overheard the young dad next to me on the phone with his wife, trying to figure out what they could give up this month in order to afford his little daughter’s medication. Their deductible was so high that one bottle of pills cost 360 dollars. Even the pharmacist looked stricken as we could not help but overhear his desperate phone conversation, as his daughter stood by watching. The very next day, I learned that a childhood friend of mine, father of a serving Marine, had unexpected surgery and could not afford his hospital bill. He was appealing to friends to help him pay his expenses.
We just have read in the Torah that the Koheyn Gadol, the High Priest carried on his shoulders on two epaulets the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The sages tell us that this was to remind him that as leader of the community he was to always remember that he bore the responsibility of caring for his people and hearing their cries and pleas.
Too bad that in our time, our “leaders”, and their fawning supporters in the media, care not a whit for the burdens and true distress of the people. My guess is that their shoulders are so narrowed by greed, narcissism, and selfishness that they could not bear the burden if they tried.