On the Responsibility to Save Lives
". . . [W]hen children suffer, and we know about them, we are always responsible for what is happening to them. To feed one child and to give hope to one parent is already to raise our voice against despair, against hunger, against injustice, inequality and humiliation."
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Shirking That Responsibility
". . . You demand to know why Chabad-Lubavitch representatives (“shluchim”) are not doing anything or are not doing enough, related to this problem [of Ethiopian Jews and the Famine] that you are very concerned with . . . You should know that Chabad-Lubavitch representatives have a specific mission assigned to them, which is to spread Judaism in the communities designated to them. Congressional resolutions* and the like are not part of those duties [even though those same rabbis regularly lobbied Congress and had successfully worked to have the Rebbe’s birthday declared "Education Day, USA" in the Rebbe’s honor] . . . your [requests for help] … do not fit in with the activities and duties of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions or representatives. . ."
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, January 16, 1984, at the height of the Ethiopian Famine.
*See here for the Congressional Resolution in question.