web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
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.



A Large Cup of Kindness to Go, Light and Sweet

“I have a room,” she said. “Saturday I will move in. My church is paying for it. I’m here today and tomorrow, hopefully that will give me enough to get an air mattress, and then I will never do this again.” I wished her luck, and I walked away, feeling moved by the interdependence all humans have on each other, and with a deeper understanding of just how much we get when we give.

It started three weeks ago. I was down, feeling hurt, and upset about the unfairness of life, while at the same time feeling guilty for having those feelings which were thankfully not justified. But I was sad and hurt, and knowing that I ought not to be only made me feel guilty, not better. These thoughts were with me the day I met her, and filled my mind whenever I was not occupied with something else to distract me. So it was on the half hour subway ride to my afternoon classes that these thoughts and feelings filled my head and heart, and stayed with me as I exited the subway turnstile.

On the way out of the station, I noticed a woman collecting. She was holding a cardboard sign that I did not read, and was wearing a bulky coat and scarf covering part of her face, to protect her from the cold, and perhaps from the shame of begging. I ignored her and walked by. I usually do that. But this time I reconsidered, due to the nagging feeling of guilt that accompanied me as I continued down the block. How could I complain of the unfairness of life, I wondered, when here was a blatant example of a human being that does not have what she needs? True, it’s impossible to know her true story, but she would not be in the subway station collecting if life were fair and all her needs were met. On the other hand, as a native New Yorker my cynicism was deeply ingrained, and I did not want to give her money. So I decided to give her food. I went back into the station and approached her.

“Ma’am,” I said, “can I get you a cup of coffee?”

“Thank you, G-d bless you,” she said.

Then, knowing how varied tastes for coffee can be, I asked her, “and how would you like it?”

“Light and sweet,” she said, “and G-d bless you.”

I went to the coffee and donut stand right outside the station, bought a large cup of coffee and gave it to her, telling her that it was “light and sweet, just how you like it.” I thought I heard her voice break when she said “Thank you, G-d bless you” one more time.

AS I continued on my way I thought about the encounter and the meaning behind it, but I admit that the feeling of warmth and satisfaction that comes from helping another did not last very long before I went back to my brooding. But I learned that an opportunity for giving was available in the subway station right by my school, should I ever feel the need to do an extra kindness.

The next week, we all heard the tragic news about the couple killed in a car accident. Their beautiful picture was pasted on the front pages of all the daily papers, many of them known to publish negative opinions about the Orthodox Jewish community, but who seem to have made an exception for this tragic story. It was in those daily papers that I read about the kindness this young couple was known to do, which was evidently touching enough to move the publishers to print information that publicized some of the beauty and kindness of the Jewish community.

When I traveled to class Monday evening, I was thinking about the tragedy and the write-ups following it, and I felt the need to do an act of kindness in the memory of the couple in a small attempt to replace some of the kindness that died with them. That evening, the woman in the subway received another cup of coffee, light and sweet.

The following day brought news of another tragedy, with the news that the couple’s son that miraculously survived the trauma had died that morning. What my small act of kindness was going to do for the baby’s memory I’ll never know, but giving the woman a coffee and Danish that day gave me comfort and hope, that despite the terrible tragedy, there can be hope and kindness in this world as well.

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 “A Large Cup of Kindness to Go, Light and Sweet”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest Sections Stories

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

More Articles from Emunah Friedman

“I have a room,” she said. “Saturday I will move in. My church is paying for it. I’m here today and tomorrow, hopefully that will give me enough to get an air mattress, and then I will never do this again.” I wished her luck, and I walked away, feeling moved by the interdependence all humans have on each other, and with a deeper understanding of just how much we get when we give.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/a-large-cup-of-kindness-to-go-light-and-sweet/2013/04/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: