Some of you may have heard that I suffered a fall a number of days ago and badly bruised my head and legs. I thought I could keep up with my almost two-year old grandson who was scooting on his scooter. Noticing danger up ahead I ran full speed after him. As it turned out, thank G!d, he stopped just as my legs gave way and I hit the pavement.
Three angels immediately showed up, a yoga instructor who tended to my head and legs, a nurse who asked numerous questions and a management consultant who took charge of keeping the space clear and called 911. My grandson, Lev, stood nearby, pointed to his Saba and let folks know "Saba...booboo..." Diane who was back up the hill saw the commotion and took charge of the grandkids. After hours in the ER and various tests, I was discharged using a walker to support my legs. Nothing broken, Baruch HaShem
Later, as I reflected on the acts of chesed, loving kindness, of the people who helped me I thought about the three strangers in the prior Shabbes' Parsha who came to visit Avraham recovering in pain in front of his tent. I also thought about the immense chesed offered by every doctor and nurse in the ER.
"Olam Chesed Yibaneh." This verse from our sacred writings instructs us that the world is built on acts of chesed. The world is not built upon acts of hatred, selfishness or greed.
This week's Parsha, Toldot, we learn of the births of the twins, Jacob and Esau. Each brother represents a different way of seeing and living life. Who's to say who is better than the other? Jacob is the farmer and into a sustainable culture. Esau is the hunter who kills and consumes. Both sons wish to please their parents. Both sons, later in Genesis, come to reconciliation.
We have just suffered through these most recent midterm elections. Many of us are in pain. Many are feeling some relief. Many are feeling both emotions and still hold onto a basic feeling of insecurity about what the future will bring. Can there be reconciliation?
A little more than a week after Pittsburgh we are just beginning to see all sides wrestling about how to restore civility, compassion and chesed to our society. We all know that hate crimes and gun violence are on the rise.
Earlier this afternoon I was on a conference call with members of J Street. The main presenter reviewed statistics from a poll of over 1000 Jews. He cited the statistic that 72% of those polled place the cause of the attack at the Tree of Life on Trump and the language he regularly uses to inspire hate. We need a president who inspires acts of chesed. 78% of the Jews polled are fearful of further anti-Semitic acts.
How do we move forward in building a world of chesed? The people of this country and around the world and those in the caravan are yearning for compassion, justice and chesed. May the new leaders who will soon be taking their place in Congress and around the country find the wisdom, patience, courage and compassion needed to create a world of chesed. Chesed is powerful. I was fortunate to be the recipient of such chesed last week. Tonight we begin Rosh Chodesh Kislev. May we especially open our hearts this month to acts of loving-kindness.
Rosh Chodesh Tov, Reb David