Charity should not just be about putting money in a pushka or writing a check. I strongly feel that taking the initiative and offering positive and comforting words, which will in some measure alleviate another person’s pain or burden, should count as tzedakah as well. As we approach Tisha B’Av, followed by Shabbat Nachamu, we should take the lesson of the collective need for ahavat Yisrael that we are so painfully aware of.
We passed by each other in the street,
Someone I’ve seen around but I don’t ever greet,
Today I decided to wish her a good day,
A smile lit her face as she walked away.
The chubby girl’s Shabbat dress was a bit too tight,
Other girls snickered while she was still in sight,
I told her the colors matched her pretty blue eyes,
Her face blushed in pleasure and grateful surprise.
I looked at my watch, my new employee was late.
She approached me slowly, I saw her hesitate,
I said, “Raising children and working -it’s hard to cope,
“Don’t worry, it’s alright,” and her tired face glowed with hope.
An old man in a nursing home sat alone on a chair,
A scowl on his face masked his lonely despair.
I went to him and asked,” How are you feeling today?”
His face softened as he thanked me for coming his way.
I called my son’s rebbe, and heard him softly groan,
As he realized yet another parent was on the phone.
“I called to thank you for classes well run,
The kids learn so much but also have fun.”
He was speechless with shock – not the typical call,
Appreciative and fortified that, I had bothered at all.
The single “girl” sits quietly at her niece’s vort.
With one quick glance, one can sense her discomfort.
I tell her, “Hashem hasn’t forgotten, your dream will come true,”
She glows as I reassure her,” Soon the kallah will be you!”
A few words warmly offered, can brighten a dull day.
A few words of comfort can chase distress away,
Random words of kindness are so easy to share,
Verbal tzedakah spreads good will everywhere.
* * * * *
The following are a reader’s thoughts on The Single Aunt (Magazine 07-22-2011).
We read the poem at our Shabbos table with our single 28-year-old daughter. I truly validated her and all the kindness she gives to others despite the days she does tell me she does not know how “she will last.”
There is great value brought to the world from the emunah and strength of character of these singles in pain, especially at family get-togethers. There is much value to their tefillos and in the way they deal with others.
The shame and pain these women experience, especially if they are part of the more charedi world, where they are exposed on a constant basis to those their age and younger marrying and having children, has no answer. Yes, they are becoming true ohavei Hashem, but there is really no consolation to give them.
However, our daughter feels great solace from the fact that her maassim tovim, her good deeds, are her children for now. And she appreciates the respect when it is given, rather than the pity.
We are all soldiers in the army of Hashem. Those already blessed with marriage and children are soldiers as they raise the next generation of guarantors of the Torah. Those not yet blessed with spouses and/or children are soldiers whose focus is tefillah and the polishing of their neshomos.
While it is exhausting to always be working on oneself to be strong and confident – Hashem remembers that exhaustion as well. These women are laying the groundwork for the geula from their extra special middos.
May Hashem help these women see their value in this transient world, and as they help and pray for others, may Hashem grant them the happiness of building their own bayis neeman b’Yisroel.