web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Kiddush Hashem And The Right Thing To Do

Lessons-logo

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.

I was blessed to see my parents, a”h, do many acts of kindness for each other, for my brother and me, for their daughters-in-law, and for extended family, neighbors and many others.

My father learned procedures so well that he was able to help my mother with her health issues. Hospital staff would call him to find out the best ways to work with my mother. My mother, during her illness, didn’t want my father to spend all of his spare time with her, so when she saw an ad from a Jewish agency seeking volunteers to help newly-arriving immigrants she encouraged my father to apply for the position. Without her encouragement, he probably would have never sought the position. This post opened up new opportunities for personal fulfillment in his retirement years.

At the age of 10, I witnessed an act of kindness toward a stranger that left a deep impression on me. While my family and I were waiting in line to enter the Washington Monument, a man was finding it difficult to fit into a tight parking spot. My father helped the driver by letting out the emergency brake of the car in front of his, which had been left open. He then steered that car a foot forward so that the other man could fit into the spot. My father’s act was a powerful lesson in the importance of helping others.

When I asked my very ill mother what she was knitting, she replied, “I’m knitting sweaters for babies with AIDS.”

I am very aware of the powerful Kiddush Hashem brought when a Jew helps a non-Jew, as it places the Jewish people in a positive light. And even if no one witnesses the act of chesed, helping someone in need is still the right thing to do.

Here are two personal examples of this: I formerly worked (mostly spending time running Oneg Shabbos programs and assisting in many Jewish-related activities) in a nursing home whereby 98 percent of the residents were Jewish while the staff taking care of them was mostly non-Jewish. There was an undercurrent of friction between the non-Jewish and Jewish staff members.

An Irishman (I’ll call him Tom) with no family member involved in his life moved into this nursing home, a result of a Jewish neighbor’s compassion for a man having difficulty living on his own. Tom’s adjustment to his new home was hard for two reasons: he had to get used to being in a nursing home with all of its strict rules and less privacy than he was accustomed to. Additionally, as an Irish Catholic, Tom had to get used to seeing religious Jewish men and women living a lifestyle alien to him.

The non-Jewish staff, especially one home health aide I’ll call Ron, took a liking to Tom. Ron was among many of his co-workers who were bitter about how they perceived the way they were treated at the nursing home.

I visited Tom in his room whenever possible, and brought him to programs when he was up to it.

An Irish society in Manhattan sent literature about the Irish county Tom was from that he loved to look at. But as there was only so much time I could spend with him, he was forced to remain in his room much of the time – with nothing to do. He loved watching old movies (and television in general) but didn’t have a TV, since no family member or friend was available to get one for him.

When I accepted another job, I capitalized on an opportunity to do something nice for Tom before I left the nursing home. My wife and I had gotten a new color television set despite having one that was still working fine. We could’ve kept the old one, but after telling my wife about Tom she enthusiastically agreed that it would be a nice gesture to give the television to him. When I brought the TV to Tom’s room, he became teary-eyed and gave me the same sweet smile he usually saved for me. After we wished each other well, two things left a powerful impression on me.

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
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah, July 1, 2014.
PA Demands Nov 2016 Deadline for UN to Force Israeli Disengagement
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

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: