web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Returning The Kindness


Lessons-Emunah-logo

You’re likely to be disappointed if you hope to be rewarded for your act of kindness. If, however, you act with kindness simply because it’s the right thing to do, many positives can come from it.

You’ve already benefited from your good deed, via the knowledge that you have partnered with Hashem in helping to make the world a better place. In addition, if the recipient of your act of kindness benefits from it, you reap joy in the positive difference you’ve made. And then there’s the fact that the more you help others, the better you become as a person.

There are other rewards as well for the person who acts kindly. It might be unclear as to how, when, and from whom the reward will come. But that doesn’t really matter, for the simple act of kindness should be the reward itself. Anything more in the form of a reward is gravy.

And if one does receive a well-earned reward some time after the act, all the more satisfying it is. After all, the passage of time decreases one’s expectation of being thanked.

A few examples: From about the ages of 10-14 my Uncle Dave, may he rest in peace, spent many fun times with me. A special treat was when he took me to a baseball game. At one Phillies game in my home city of Philadelphia, we were sitting way up in the grandstands and a foul ball was hit our way. With the crowd standing, my uncle caught the ball (he was the tallest person among the fans). I was so proud of him and thrilled when he gave me the ball. I passed the ball to curious fans, who viewed it like a precious gem. When they returned it to me, my prized friendship with Uncle Dave was cemented.

Years passed, and I made new friends and acquired new interests. I became very busy at my managing editor’s job for a trade magazine, and thus had less time to spend with my uncle.

I heard that my uncle had entered the hospital for major surgery and I wanted to visit him. Wanting to bring him a gift in order to express my warm feeling for him, I pondered what gift to give him.

The night before I was to see him I brought my glove to a Phillies game, hoping to catch a ball. Having never caught one before, maybe that night would be my night.

And sure enough, I caught a ball hit in batting practice!

I was overjoyed, and looked forward to describing my experience with friends.

But more important, I wrapped the ball in a gift box to give to Uncle Dave the next day during my hospital visit.

“What’s this?” he asked. “A little gift,” I said. “Oh, you didn’t have to bring anything,” he said. “I wanted to,” I responded.

When he opened the box and saw an official National League baseball inside, he asked me where I got it. “I caught it at last night’s Phillies game,” I told him. “So why are you giving it to me?” he asked. My answer: “Don’t you remember, when I was 10 you caught a ball at a game and gave it to me?” Looking at the ball, Uncle Dave smiled. It took a long time to repay him for his kindness to me – but better late than never.

Years later, living in Midwood, Brooklyn, I took a Yiddish class in Boro Park. I drove a woman in my neighborhood, taking the same class, roundtrip – which earned me her husband’s gratitude, as he was able to spend more time in kollel. After the class ended, I didn’t see the couple for a number of years. I assumed they moved out of the neighborhood.

Long after that Yiddish course ended, my wife and I were invited to a Shabbos Sukkos meal. Right after davening, we went to our hosts’ home, so as not to keep them waiting. But they had yet to return home from shul, going instead to a post-davening Kiddush in shul. So we waited by their house. And we kept waiting.

By now hot, thirsty and hungry, I decided to ask the first religious person I saw if we could join them for Kiddush until our hosts arrived. Despite being very uncomfortable doing this, I made my request to a religious man with two young children. He was happy to oblige, and my wife and I joined him and his children in the short walk to his sukkah.

The man looked familiar. Finally, I realized that this was the man whose wife I had driven to the Yiddish class years earlier. Now living in the neighborhood we were visiting, he was able to repay me for having once given him more time to learn.

Everyone should enjoy doing acts of kindness – for its own merit. And if fortunate to be rewarded in return, all the better.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Returning The Kindness”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IDF patrol along the Gaza border.
Ground Op on Horizon with Emergency Orders to 10,000 IDF Reservists
Latest Judaism Stories
Daf-Yomi-logo

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

The-Shmuz

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

More Articles from Alan Magill
Lessons-Emunah-logo

The simple act of kindness should be the reward itself. Anything more in the form of a reward is gravy.

Lessons-logo

Patience seems to be in such short supply these days, yet it can make a world of difference. This is particularly so in certain kinds of stressful situations whereby we think we only have time to act in a knee-jerk way instead of acting thoughtfully.

I recently heard a Pirkei Avos shiur in which the speaker said that our spiritual DNA derives from our patriarchs and matriarchs. The great tests they withstood and for which they gained ever greater prominence was witnessed by the Jews who followed them, many of whom succeeded in overcoming great challenges as well. It seems that an individual’s great effort helps the spiritual strength kick in.

The first and only time I said I was a rabbi was also the first and only time I had a gun pointed at me. What led me to that moment was my need to stay on the Upper West Side for a Shabbos and a hospitality committee that arranged for me to stay with a man who lived in the former janitor’s apartment on the fifth floor of a synagogue.

It is very important for Jews to first help family, then other Jews close to us, then Jews not as close. Next, if possible and appropriate, Jews should help those of any race or creed.

The five-year-old boy was in a church in Puerto Rico with his parents. As they and his grandparents were Catholics, that made him Catholic – as far as his young mind could figure.

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

Feeling more alone than at any time since arriving in New York, I looked inside myself for anything that could anchor me to bring me back to who I was, to move away from illusions of romance to my central sticking point. Suddenly and unexpectedly, being a Jew meant more to me than anything else in the world.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/185277/2014/07/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: