A story is told about the Skverer Rebbe, a tzaddik who has dedicated his life to facilitating the application of modern medicine. A young woman came to see the rebbe for a blessing after she’d donated a kidney to a Jewish person on dialysis. The operation, as is true of 97 percent of such procedures, was a success. As she entered the chamber where the rebbe sat to receive guests, he stood up to welcome her.
She was somewhat taken aback and expressed to the rebbe her embarrassment at his outward display of respect to her.
“Dear lady,” he declared with tears in his eyes. If it were permitted, I would embrace you for your wonderful and unselfish act of kindness. You have saved a life. Your power has exceeded anything I have ever done! I am standing before an angel.”
So here I lie, waiting and hoping – together with my wife, our seven children, and my extended family – for the miracle of my own angel coming forward, either as a match for me to preempt my demise or as a match to one of thousands of others in line and hoping beyond hope.
Dialysis steals 10 hours each and every day. Just imagine being tied up for 10 hours. Every single day. Of course, it sure beats the alternative.
Saturday, November 11will be a Shabbos dedicated to organ donation. The Torah portion that week is Vayerah, where we learn how Avraham Avinu practiced chesed and hospitality – to strangers, no less, and even before he’d fully recovered from his bris milah.
It is Avraham’s example of concern for others that sets the standard for our nation. He epitomizes the sense of satisfaction and self-fulfillment one feels when giving to others. It’s a feeling that’s hard to explain. You just experience it from within.
Please – decide if you’re up to answering the call. Each month 4,000 new patients are added to the list. Contact the renal (kidney) transplant department at any hospital. Learn more about what is involved. No commitment. Education is just the first – albeit the most important – step in making an intelligent, balanced decision. A decision that may possibly change your world and will definitely improve mine.
Like the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, this is a wake-up call. It is this type of selfless charity that hopefully will push off the evil decree – and it’s in your hands. Your life will be changed and another Jew’s life will be spared.
If you hear that small still whisper inside your head, respond now and answer the call. There’s even a newly formed organization called Renewal that helps observant Jews who wish to become organ donors. Please make the connection now.
Useful Numbers and contact information:
· Renewal – tel: 718-431-9831; e-mail: Csteinmetz@life-renewal.org
· Skverer Refuah – tel: 973-580-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org (to donate to this writer)
· Ezer M’zion – tel: 718-853-8400
· National Kidney Foundation – tel: 1-800-622-9010
· Matching Donors – website: www.matchingdonors.com
· Donor Sabbath – tel: 1- 888-234-4440