I do not think any of the staff members at Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego had ever met an observant Jew. My father’s voice whispered to me, “My child, my precious light, wherever you are and whatever you do, never forget you represent the Torah, and the way people will see you and judge you is how they will see and judge our people.”
So on every occasion and with every encounter I spoke to people of our Torah and the wisdom of our people that was granted us at Sinai. And soon we had Torah classes – discussions and explanations. Teaching became part of my daily life at Scripps Memorial and suddenly the days were not so heavy. The hours went by quickly. I smiled for the sake of others and smiles came right back to me.
Hashem should grant that you, my dear friends, will never find yourselves in a hospital or in any other difficult circumstance. But if, G-d forbid, your destiny decrees that you have to pass this test, then rise to the challenge. Put a smile on your face and share your Torah wisdom. Remember the passage that is written so clearly and yet is so easily forgotten: “For this is your knowledge and your wisdom in the sight of the nations.”
I now prepare for my journey home and I look forward to returning to my family. Staff members come to say goodbye, and as they do their eyes are moist with tears. They tell me things like, “You touched us all, you brought the light of G-d into our lives.”
This light is the heritage of our people, bequeathed to us at Sinai. Every one of us can kindle it and light up the world. That is our mission and our purpose. Wherever we go, wherever our destiny takes us, this light is our torch.