Acts of kindness need not start with running into a burning building. Chesed is available to all of us in both large and small ways every single day of our lives. Kindness begins at home and then spirals outward from family to friends, community, and country. There is never a shortage of opportunities to help other people, if only we could adopt the dedication and heart of a firefighter and let nothing stand in the way of fulfilling our mission.
Let us all kindle that spark of chesed within us as a tribute to these nine departed heroes and as an expression of gratitude to all the heroes who continue to serve and protect us and our families.
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Ordinarily, Chanukah is a time to hug and kiss the kids as we sing in front of the menorah. This past Chanukah was an exception. Instead of putting my arms around my children, I watched them light the menorah on a streaming video from my iPad while I rested comfortably in my hospital bed.
I had never seen so many fire trucks in one place. It was Erev Shabbos, but this Friday was unlike like any other.
Instead of running around town in preparation for Shabbos, I stopped my normal routine and found myself standing solemnly with the crowd of onlookers lining the sidewalks of Charleston, South Carolina. We watched silently as several hundred fire trucks from cities and counties across the country passed before us. This somber procession would escort the nine heroic fallen Charleston firefighters who earlier that week had died in the line of duty.