Posts Tagged ‘Chesed’

28
Mar

There Is A School in Monsey II

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

I once posted an article, “There is a school in Monsey,” describing the great achievements, awareness, sensitivity and Chesed of Ateres Bais Yaakov in Monsey, NY. They’ve done it again:

While thinking of a nice winter vacation, most of us would come up with destinations such as Florida, or any other sunny place on the globe.

Many of my Ateres eleventh grade students thought differently. They decided to embark on a journey to Ukraine, on a trip organized by the school.

The temperatures dropped to -25F, but they were able to bring warmth to others while gaining tremendous inspiration.

One group of students went to Kiev on a Kiruv mission, where they gave over lessons and led activities at the Orach Chaim School.

Another group headed to Odessa, where for ten days, they slept, ate and lived in the Tikva girls’ orphanage. They witnessed the unfathomable poverty and misery these children come from, and experienced the incredible physical and emotional care that Tikva provides for 250 Jewish children in Ukraine. Overnight, my students became teachers, friends and “Mommies”; they nurtured, they bonded, they danced and sung and played with, they tucked little children into bed and said Shema with them. They forged lasting friendships, they gave and taught and brought smiles on these orphans’ faces.

The Ateres eleventh graders came back transformed. They were inspired beyond words. And they haven’t stopped since. They have tirelessly worked at raising  funds  to enable Tikva to continue doing its incredible work. They organized a fundraiser, produced a video, spoke at different events about what they experienced on their trip to Odessa, they held a bake sale, a raffle, a clothing drive and sent food packages.

To quote one of my students: “These children became my siblings, they are my second family. The feeling of love I experienced is a feeling beyond this world. And they need our help. So many more orphans are still on  the streets of Odessa. Without Tikva, these children are lost Jewish souls. Every single one of them should be given the chance to grow up in a happy, healthy environment. They are the future of the Jewish people. The Hebrew word ‘Tikva’ means hope. That is exactly what the Tikva organization gives to those children.”

With hope, and best wishes for a Chag Kasher V’Sameach,

Sarah Salvay,

Eleventh Grade Mechaneches,

Ateres Bais Yaakov

To learn more about Tikva, you can visit www.tikvaodessa.org

Checks can be made out to Tikva corp. and mailed to Tikva c/o Salvay, 11 Pasadena Pl. Spring Valley, NY, 10977

(Tax ID # 223 779 212)

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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14
Dec

The Gift of the View

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

I received the following story in an email from Dr Menachem Seuss HaKohen:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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11
Nov

“The Pain of Abraham” by Prof. Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Relationships

It was the third day after Abraham was circumcised and he was in pain. So how do we explain what he does? He saw men approaching his tent. He ran to greet them and bowed before them. He ran to tell Sarah to make cakes, and again ran to take a calf to be slaughtered for a meal. He then carried the meal to the men and stood by them as they ate, in case they needed something else.

Wait a minute. What about the pain? Did it magically disappear?

The answer is one I experienced years ago. I was visiting a friend in the hospital, and he was in bad shape. During the first 20 minutes of my visit, he was in discomfort and hardly spoke. I was distressed. But then I asked if he wanted to hear an idea I had on the Torah reading. After saying my part, he began, in an animated voice, telling me his thoughts on the Torah reading. He became a different person. After 5 minutes, his wife looked at me in astonishment, and I gave her the same look. This was the antidote. He was focused on something he was passionate about, and he ignored or did not notice his discomfort.

Abraham did the same thing. The story also teaches us how to visit the sick and be helpful. Engage them in something that is their passion, and they will be their own pain killers.

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28
Jul

The Three Weeks: Becoming Illuminators

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

A story is told of Rabbi Mattaih ben Cheresh who was wealthy, God-fearing, had a fine personality, ran to do mitzvot, tzedakah in particular, provided generously from all he owned for the benefit of the Sages, always had widows and orphans eating at his table, all his dealings with other people were honest, all his life he was involved in Torah study like his teacher, Rabbi Meir, and the radiance of his face shone as brightly as the brilliance of sunlight (Midrash Tanchumah, Chukkat 1).

We see that one who acts as he should, who lives a life of righteousness, generosity, Torah study and honesty, will shine with the brilliance of sunlight.

We are taught that there were many such people at the time of the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Yet, despite their great radiance, the sin of baseless hatred prevented their light from illuminating others. We can take an important step toward repairing the sin of baseless hatred by emulating the students in the following story:

“When the Torah study session was finished in Rabbi Ammi’s school, they would say to each other: “May you see your world in your lifetime.”

“May your eyes sparkle with the light of Torah

and you are face as the radiance of the Heavens.

May you speak words of great Torah insight,

and may your entire being be joyous,

with those things that are right and just in life.

May your feet hurry to hear the words of the One Who is Ancient, Older than Time Itself (Berachot 17a).”

We are taught that there were many such people at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. Yet, despite their great radiance, the sin of baseless hatred prevented their light from illuminating others. We can take an important step toward repairing the sin of baseless hatred by emulating the students in the following story:

They prayed for each other to shine with the light of Torah and the radiance of the Heavens. At the very least, we too, can pray as did they.

The Midrash teaches that each of us contains the seeds of such radiance: When Israel stood at Mount Sinai and said, “We will do, and we will hear,” at that very moment they were given of some of the radiance God’s Intimate Presence (Pesikta Rabbati 21:5). We can use the 3 Weeks to become the highest form of Illuminators: those who nurture the inner radiance of those around them.

The Talmud teaches that one way we can nurture the light of others and thereby receive more like ourselves is: “Rabbi Dostai expressed the following insight in the name of Rabbi Yannai; ” If a person gives even the smallest coin to tzedakah, he will receive the light of God’s Presence (Bava Batra 10a).” We know how sometimes a simple act of kindness, a warm word, can bring light to the face of someone who is suffering. We don’t need to do usage things in order to become illuminators, the most ostensibly insignificant acts are often overflowing with the light of God’s Presence.

Rabbi Chanan of Tziporin said:

What does the unwise persons say?

“Who could possibly study all of Torah? The section Nezikin alone is 30 chapters! This section Keilim alone is 30 chapters!”

What does the person of insight say?

“I will study 2 laws today, and another to tomorrow, until I have studied the entire Torah (Vayikra Rabbah 19:2).”

We can the common illuminators on small step at a time.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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25
Jul

Mishlei Tools: Three Weeks: 12:20: Loving Others

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

“There is joy for people who make plans to do good (Proverbs 12:20).” Rabbi Levi said, “whoever thinks to himself before going to sleep at night, “When I wake up tomorrow I will do good things for So and So,” that person will ultimately share great joy with the righteous in the Garden of Eden, in the Future World, as the verse says, “There is joy for people who make plans to do good.” [Midrash Mishlei 12:1]

It is appropriate to include this verse as part of our morning blessings during the Three Weeks with the intention to repair the damage of baseless hatred that led to the disruption of the Second Temple. We should also remember to say to ourselves before going to sleep, “When I wake up tomorrow I will do good things for So and So.”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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24
Jul

The Story of Khalid the Kind

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

Long, long ago, a lone traveler set out to cross the Sahara Desert, heading north from Timbuktu. Days passed and he made steady progress on the road to Marrakesh. On the eighth day of his journey, the traveler was set upon by a ferocious sand storm. The wind lashed him without mercy and confused his sense of direction. When it was over, he was lost. Dunes of pitiless sand stretched in every direction. There was no shade and he had lost his supplies in the storm. Soon his tongue began to swell and his lips cracked, every ounce of his being cried for water. Vultures circled slowly overhead. The man wandered aimlessly until hope deserted him; he fell to his knees, ready to die.

The traveler did not know it, but just over the Eastern Dune, lay the oasis of Khalid the Kind, known throughout the Sahara as the possessor of the finest, purest water and the most generous heart the desert had ever known. Khalid the Kind regularly rode the dunes in search of the lost and the forsaken.

Just as the traveler prepared to close his eyes for the last time, the desert silence was broken by the plodding sounds of a camel. The camel and rider were soon at his side. Khalid gathered up the prostrate traveler and rode swiftly home.

Khalid offered the traveler water and the man drank deeply. Again and again he drank until his thirst had gone. At last the travelers spoke. “Great is my fortune to have encountered Khalid the Kind when Death held his cold hand upon my throat.”

“It was the will of God that you should live, I am but His poor servant,” Khalid responded. “Now you must drink more for truly you have not taken enough.”

“I would drink more of water but I am full, now I feel weakness and a great hunger, might I have some food?”

“Food, how can you think of food? Khalid cried. “It is water you need now. Not so long ago you were nearly dead of thirst. So drink and drink deeply.”

“Khalid, I am in your debt. But I have taken my fill of water and now I must eat.”

“I think the sun has addled your brain, my fine friend. You must drink more water or Death will claim you yet.”

The traveler turned his head away when Khalid offered him the ladle. Water spilled to the ground. Convinced that his new friend was insane for refusing the water he must need, Khalid swept him up from his resting place, and waded into the spring with the man in his arms. Again and again he dunked his new friend’s head into the water. The man choked and fought for air, swallowing great gulps of freshwater. Khalid was pleased.

When the traveler began to weaken, Khalid redoubled his efforts, holding the man under for longer periods to ensure that he would take water. Again and again the poor man was submerged until his strength waned to nothing, and Death did take him. The traveler died in Khalid’s powerful embrace.

Tears streaked the loving face of Khalid the Kind. “If only he had drunk a little more, he might have lived!” The man’s body was buried near the Oasis. His was not the only body laid to rest by Khalid the Kind. “Water, they must have water,” he muttered as he mounted his camel and headed out into the desert heat. (Dr. William Thomas; “The Eden Alternative.”)

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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24
Jul

Loving Others By Using Your Talents

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships, Spiritual Growth

“Happy is he who understands, Maskil, the needs of the lowly (Psalm 41:2).” Rabbi Yonah said, “Happy is the person who uses his talents when giving to those in need.” What does Maskil really mean in this verse? That the person doing tzedakah takes and intense look at the midst of a situation at hand and considers the very best way to give back to the other person is or her decent and dignified life (Midrash Tehillim 41:3).”

“Charismatic leaders make us think, ‘ Oh, if only I could do that, be like that.’ True leaders make us think, ‘ If they can do that, then I can too’ (John Holt).”

There is more to being creative and using our talents in loving and helping others then the help itself; when we can exemplify a new approach to loving others and acts of tzedakah we can inspire others to say, “If he can do that, then I can too!” An important aspect of the mitzvah to love others is to inspire them to believe that they can achieve ever greater heights.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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24
Jul

The Bath That Made Yom Kippur

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

Vladek was notorious, the subject of jokes and gossip in Auschwitz work camp X. He was a Polish country boy who received packages from home with fruit and woolen socks, so he was potentially a person of some standing. All the same, he never washed.

Otto, the German barracks chief, one of the first inmates of Auschwitz, #14, ordered him to bathe. First in a nice way, that is to say with insults, then with slaps and punches, but in vain.

There came a mild September Sunday, one of the rare work free Sundays, and Otto took out one of the huge soup tubs, rinsed it, and then filled it with hot water. He put Vladek in it and washed him from head to foot. Otto could have beaten him up or had him transferred to the punishment camp.

That evening was Yom Kippur eve, and the inmates got in line for soup, as on every other evening. Otto was in charge of dispensing the soup. When Ezra got in front of Otto, he did not hold out his mess tin. Instead, he said: “Mr. Barracks Chief, for us today is a day of atonement and I cannot eat my soup. I respectfully ask you to save it for me until tomorrow evening.”

In all his Camp years, Otto had never run into a prisoner who refused food. He told Ezra to step aside and come back to him after he had finished lading it out.

Was Ezra perhaps less hungry then on other days?

Ezra answered that certainly he was no less hungry, that on the day of Yom Kippur he should also abstain from work, but he knew that if he did so he would be denounced and killed, and therefore he would work because the law allows disobedience of almost all precepts and prohibitions in order to save a life. That nevertheless he intended to observe the prescribed fast because he wasn’t certain that this would lead to his death.

Otto could not believe that after so long in Auschwitz Ezra had any sins for which he had to atone. Ezra explained that the atonement was not a strictly personal matter. The day and the fast contributed toward obtaining forgiveness from God for sins committed by others. “My sins too,” asked Otto. “What about their sins,” he continued, pointing at the German guards.

Ezra answered that, unlike Jonah the biblical prophet who brought forgiveness for all people, he was a simple man. He must insist on asking Mr. Barracks Chief that his soup be saved until the following evening, and also next morning’s bread. Do not keep the soup warm; keep it cold.

Otto asked why, and Ezra answered that there were two good reasons for this, one sacred and one profane. In the first place, he began to speak in a Talmudic singsong and to sway a little back and forth from the waist up, according to some it was inadvisable to make a fire on Yom Kippur even by the hand of Christians. In the second place, Camp soup tended to go sour quickly, especially when kept in a warm place. All the prisoners preferred to eat it cold rather than sour.

The following evening Otto presented Ezra with a huge portion of bread and soup.

How did Ezra know he could risk asking Otto for this consideration? Because Ezra saw that Otto did not beat Vladek, that he rinsed this soup pot before the bath, and that he used hot water, not cold, to bathe Vladek. (Primo Levi; “Moments of Reprieve,” The Cantor and the Barracks Chief)

“Daniel set the resolve in his heart to not be defiled by the king’s food nor by his drinking wine, so he requested of the Officer of the Eunuchs that he not be defiled. The Lord gave Daniel to the Attributes of Kindness and Compassion before the Officer of the Eunuchs. The Officer said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has provided your food and your drinks, lest he see your face is more ill at ease than the other youths in your situation, and you will forfeit my head to the King!” (Daniel 1:8-10)

Once Daniel heard the Officer, rather than execute Daniel, speak from his heart, he knew that he would get his way.

It only takes one tiny act of compassion to open the door for other people to begin to hope. Daniel heard the compassion in the voice of the Officer, and Ezra saw the compassion in the bath that Otto gave Vladek.

Daniel, the teacher of how to survive and thrive in exile, taught us to look for, grab and hold on to such expressions of kindness and humanity. This is a lesson we must take with us, especially in our darkest moments. It is also a lesson that we must always offer such expressions of kindness to others so that they can find hope. When we hate each other, we destroy far more than relationships; we deprive others who live in a world of hate of the opportunity to discover seeds of hope.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

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1
Jul

“A Glass of Milk” shared by Rich Albeen

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry.

He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water! . She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.

He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?”

You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said … “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Many year’s later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes.

Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once.

He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words …

“Paid in full with one glass of milk”

(Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly.

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: “Thank You, God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands.”

There’s a saying which goes something like this:

Bread cast on the water comes back to you. The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time.  If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place – And, after all, isn’t that what life is all about?

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24
May

The Trough in Central Park by Prof Gerald August

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

As you enter Central Park from Sixth Avenue, there is a water trough made of stone. It is three feet long by one foot wide by 14 inches high, and has a pipe that supplies water for the horses that pull the carriages. The trough was donated by Mrs. Henry C. Russell

The other day I was sitting on a bench about 20 feet from the trough. Over the course of an hour, at least 10 horses stopped to get a drink. I multiplied the total daily drinks by 365, a yearly total of 21,600. Think about it. Over 21,000 acts of kindness from one gift.

But here is the punchline. This trough was donated in… 1908. Over the last 102 years, Mrs. Russell’s gift resulted in two million, three hundred three thousand acts of kindness.

Even one kind act makes the world a better place. Mrs. Russell teaches us to also think about the bigger picture. What can we do with small funds to make an ongoing and ultimately huge impact? Look around you. What are you using on a continuing basis that someone provided for you? Is it the 100 year old seder plate your grandmother bought when she was a young bride? Is it the shawl your mother knitted that your wife now uses when she is cold ? Is it the water fountain in the community center you attend?

We can do numerous acts of kindness long after the initial act.

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