Many children and youngsters sadly find themselves in distressful situations.
It is possible that the hasty pace of modern urban life, that lacks consideration of the individual, burdens the lives of children even more.
All their personal and social difficulties do not necessarily belong to one age group.
Distress is possibly a situation shared by all human beings, but there is need to give special attention to children, as they are, generally helpless and unable to express their anguish.
Therefore, it is our obligation not only to respond to their needs, but also to take preventative steps and provide assistance before situations deteriorate, with irreversible damage.
The Exodus is a constitutive event in Jewish History, serving not only the Jewish People, but possibly the entire human race, as a basic model, a template of the departure from exile.
The story of the Exodus contains several elements which are not always duly emphasized.
The Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt for many years.
This most definitely was an unpleasant, and not respected, status.
But, as experience shows, in most cases people somehow adapt to their situation.
They might not enjoy their state, but they can endure years of suffering with no tangible solution in sight.
One phase in the stages of redemption, exceptionally significant in the Exodus, is that when people begin to sigh, as stated “and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage” (Exodus, 2:23), i.e. the inner understanding that one is suffering.
In many cases, this cry, the knowledge that life is bitter, is the key to redemption.
Whoever accepts his inferior situation is possibly not ready to hear the declaration to rise out of bondage.
But the Biblical verses summarize the situation differently elsewhere: “And God saw the children of Israel, and God took knowledge of them” (ibid:25).
In addition to their crying, they must be looking, taking notice and identifying also with Him who wants to take them out of exile.
“And God took knowledge” – i.e. God knows not only the revealed suffering, oppression and pain, but also that which people possibly did not know how to express.
“And God took knowledge” is the observation of the redeemer on the affliction of the sufferers; and the more profound this observation, the closer the redemption is to coming.
People require two elements in modern life, as in all times, in order to provide help to the needy.
One is a certain level of self-awareness, which opens the aperture for providing assistance.
The second is the willingness and desire to look closer, to know and to identify with that which is not said, and that which is not cried out loud.
The author of Psalms says “happy is he who considers the poor” (Psalms, 41:1): there are those who give to the poor, but there are those who think, look and try to find ways to help the poor.
It is fitting for man to compare himself to the Creator of the world, and just like Him, to look, to listen and to extend one's hand in help.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz