The Proverbial Woman: Vs 20 Compassionate To Others

Proverbs 31:20  She opens her hands to the poor and reaches her hands out to the needy.


Kaf is our next letter and the pictograph looks like the open palm of the hand.  The literal meaning is 'palm'.  During Shabat service, there is a special moment when the children are called to the front of the church.  The rabbi and the congregation face the children, with arms raised and hands extended palm facing them.  Then the blessing of the children is spoken.  Just so, this letter is meant to represent the palm of God's hand facing us, as he gives his blessing upon us. There is an implied meaning of not just 'palm' but what is held in the open palm of the hand.   Kaf comes from a root word, kafah which means 'to bend or bow down'.

The word used here is 'kapah.'   It is referring to the  gesture 'she opens', although blueletterbible.org does not use the word for this verse.  It does not even use the word used in the previous verse.  The lexicon lists the word as 'kaph' which means 'spoon'.   The translation from the Hebrew is 'she opens'. Just as a spoon holds something in the bowl of it,  her hand is not empty.  There is something in her hand for the poor. 

In every Jewish home there is a small box, called a tzadakah, and coins are dropped into it each week. This money is meant to be used towards a charitable cause or a person in need.  So this woman has something in her hand and  opens it in order to allow the other person to receive that offering.



. . .and reaches her hands out to the needy...
She's moved beyond merely giving the occasional coin from her tzadakah box.   She has been moved to such a state of compassion that she extends out her arms, holding them out, hands reaching outward in a gesture of wanting to gather the needy in towards her.  This is spiritual growth!

How often have any one of us ignored the needs of others, aware that we are doing just that and walking away?   We may be charitable...at a distance.  We like to give but we prefer not to deal with those whom we're giving to.  This woman has moved beyond that place and has publicly reached out, moving out of the comfortable distance and into an awareness of the needy who are right before her.

Matthew 25: 35-40 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Comments

Lana said…
Recently someone we know said that when we give to someone like the homeless person on the street corner it is not our concern what that person does with the money. How many times have we with held help because we made an assumption abut where the money would go and we do not want to support a drug or alcohol problem. Yes, some will spend it on an addiction but many will purchase much needed food. It was freeing to realize this and just give because we are commanded to do so.

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