web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Kiddush Hashem And The Right Thing To Do

Lessons-logo

Walking by his room, I saw Tom focused intensely on an old movie. This gave me a great feeling inside. And Ron, the bitter home health aide, heard that I had given the television to Tom. With an enthusiastic smile on his face, he called out to the other home health aides, “Look what Alan did for Tom.” Many of the home health aides saw Tom’s new television for themselves – and they seemed thrilled at the sight.

The second experience I’d like to highlight: I certainly wasn’t thrilled to see a homeless man, about 70, standing outside the subway in affluent Forest Hills, Queens. He just stood there, not looking for handouts.

He stood there day after day. I soon learned that he slept down in the subway, away from the platform, on a cardboard box. People would sometimes buy him food (myself sometimes included), for which he was appreciative. He wouldn’t go to a shelter because he said he got beat up there.

I was very involved with a theater group at an Orthodox shul a stones’ throw from where this homeless man “lived.” We had done a number of theatrical programs, raising money for Jewish causes. With Thanksgiving behind us and colder weather arriving, we decided that the next play would raise money on behalf of the homeless.

We decided that by helping the homeless, we would be helping this man (who I’ll call George). We never questioned whether he was Jewish. The only things that mattered were that he was suffering, he was near our shul, and we wanted to help him. The play raised $70 in donations. I went to George on the chilly subway platform and asked him what we could buy for him. He was very touched by our offer.

“You know, it’s getting colder,” George said. “I could really use a green, velour sweater, with a high collar and a zipper.”

I was surprised with his specificity. With $70 on hand, I headed to Alexander’s department store. Instead of purchasing the sweater he had requested, I purchased a beautiful, stylish, warm winter jacket – marked down from $189 to $89. Joyful with the belief that George, with so much taken from him, should have this jacket, I was only too happy to lay out the $19 difference.

With jacket in tow, I found George lying on the cardboard box in the subway. Upon informing him that we had gotten something for him, his red face from the cold seemed to warm into a gentle smile.

Thanking me, he took the bag. When he pulled out the stylish winter jacket, I was so happy for him. With a big smile he hugged me and said, “Thank you very much.” But then he added, “I can’t use it.”

Stunned, I told him that he deserved it and should enjoy it.

“I wish I could,” he said, “but if I wore it, people would beat me up and steal it from me. It’s too nice.”

With visions of having to return the jacket to an extraordinarily crowded Alexander’s, I asked George what he wanted instead. “A green velour sweater with a high collar and a zipper,” he calmly answered.

I said I would work on it and wished him a good night. Back to Alexander’s I went, but this time with reinforcement – a woman who knew how to shop. When the clerk inquired as to why I was returning the jacket, I said that it was too nice.

With money returned to me, my professional shopper and I went to the men’s section. Somehow, within a minute, she found the green velour sweater with the high top and the zipper. She had the good sense to put it in a box and wrap it so it looked like a present. After paying the approximately $70 cost (about the amount we had raised), we headed to the subway stop. I hoped that George wouldn’t be there on this very cold night, for maybe he had overcome his resistance and gone to a shelter.

But he was there. Upon seeing us, he smiled as we approached him. When my professional female shopper handed him the wrapped present, he was genuinely moved. His numb fingers made it hard for him to open the package, but although we offered to help him he insisted on doing it himself.

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 “Kiddush Hashem And The Right Thing To Do”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
What, me incite terror? Abba: "The Jews must be barred by any means possible."
Ex-Senior Justice Official Asks Homeland Security to Ban Abbas from US
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/kiddush-hashem-and-the-right-thing-to-do/2013/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: