web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



What Really Constitutes ‘Compassion’? (Pt. II)


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

I remember some years ago my encounter with a young man following one of my speaking engagements in London. “Rebbetzin,” he challenged, “I would truly like to be kinder and more considerate of others but I just don’t feel it. It’s not in my nature and I’m not a kid who can change, so if you give me a shortcut that could work me for I will take it on.”

I looked at him and saw he was sincere. “Let’s consider that for a minute,” I told him. “Have you ever analyzed exactly what constitutes your nature? Our sages provide us with profound insights into this subject. ‘A man is shaped by his deeds,’ they tell us, meaning that if you do something long enough, it becomes second nature and it is that which makes you ‘you.’ So, for example, if you become accustomed to nasty habits, you become a nasty person. If you become used to venting your feelings, you become an uncontrolled, angry individual. The converse is also true. If you act kindly, eventually you become kind. If you force yourself to give, in time, you become generous.

“The positive aspect of this teaching is reinforced in our Talmud: ‘Mitoch she’lo lishmah, ba lishmah’ – that which you initially do by rote, you will end up doing with sincerity if you persevere. The action will become so deeply imbedded in your psyche that it will actually transform your personality.”

He thought for a moment and responded, “But doing things by rote and without feeling or believing them sounds hypocritical to me.”

I then related a story written by the British author Max Beerbohm titled “The Happy Hypocrite.” It is about a gentleman named Lord George Hell, whose name mirrored his personality. His bad temper was reflected in his eyes, his face, his very demeanor. One day Lord George fell madly in love with a sweet, gentle, lovely maiden but she was so repelled by his appearance that she let him know that she could never entertain the thought of becoming involved with a man whose face was so cruel and angry.

So Lord George came up with a brilliant idea. He would commission a master artist to create a mask for him that would reflect a kind, benevolent, gentle person. Thus disguised, he called on the damsel, who immediately fell in love with him. They were married and lived happily together, until one day an old enemy came to visit and said to the woman, “You think that you are married to a kind, gentle man – I’ll show you who your husband really is!”

And with that he ripped the mask off Lord George’s face. But lo and behold, the face beneath the mask was identical to the mask.

Throughout their marriage Lord George had pretended to be gentle and generous so that his conduct would not belie his mask. This left a deep mark on his character and transformed him into the person he had pretended to be.

“A beautiful story,” said my new friend in London, “but it borders on the miraculous rather than on reality.”

“Miracles are our reality,” I replied – “if we so wish it.”

Do we not all become miracles when we change our nature? If you wish to find a shortcut to change yourself for the better, put on that “mask” and become the kind, compassionate person our Torah commanded all of us to be.

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.

2 Responses to “What Really Constitutes ‘Compassion’? (Pt. II)”

  1. Gloria Rivera says:

    Beautiful lesson on compassion. May God continue to use you in writing such anecdotes that have His grace and unconditional love in it so many of us can learn to emulate such love. God knows the whole world is in such dire need of such wholesome values. Thank you so very much you beautiful lady..<3.

  2. Gloria Rivera says:

    May you all enjoy this beautiful story on compassion..so beautifully done and will surely touch your heart. Enjoy!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS's response to President Obama's warnings came in the form of a movie trailer.
ISIS Sends Obama Fiery Video Response [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
15th century Book of the Torah

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Leff-091214

All Jews are inherently righteous and that is why we all have a portion in the World to Come.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

How can the Torah expect me today, thousands of years after the mitzvahs were given, to view each mitzvah as if I’m fulfilling it for the first time?

Torah isn’t a theological treatise or a metaphysical system but a series of stories linked over time

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

An Astonishing Miracle
‘Why Bring the Infants to Hakhel?’
(Chagigah 3a)

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

e are in a time of serious crisis and must go beyond our present levels of chesed.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

“Tony said that the code in most places in the U.S. is at least 36 inches for a residential guardrail,” replied Mr. Braun. “Some make it higher, 42, or even 52 inches for high porches. What is the required height according to halacha?”

Simcha is total; sahs is God’s joy in protecting us even when we are most vulnerable.

Not only do we accept You as our King, it is our greatest desire that the name of Your Kingdom be spread throughout the entire universe.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

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

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Let us shake the heavens. Let us not stop until our boys and all our people are liberated from bondage.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/what-really-constitutes-compassion-part-two/2013/01/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: