Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
<><><>Thursday May 18, 2023, Iyar 27, 5783<><><>
The other side of the bed Part 2
Caring and protecting others.
Other thoughts of Kiddush H rather than Chilul H
The cab driver and the Jewish passenger.
The hospital volunteer.
There are many instances when individuals do not act appropriately which we can find inconsistdent to our values. However, as in previous articles I choose not to accentuate those actions, but rather focus on the positive acts of kindness, goodness, and often, above and beyond acts called lefnei meshuras hadin. However, it truly is beneficial to learn the halachos, of doing gemilus chasadim.
From Relevance Pirkei Avos for the Twenty-First Century by Rabbi Dan Roth A Project of Torah Live http://www.torahalive.com Feldheim Publishers Page 102 “When we are polite and considerate, people will think better not only of us, but of all Jews. A story is told of a young man who lived in Brooklyn, and often took cabs to Manhattan where he worked. One day, as he exited the taxi a block away from his office, another Orthodox Jew entered the cab. The driver turned to his new passenger, and said, “See that fellow who just left my cab? You know what he told me? He works a block away from here, but he gets out here because it’s right by the subway-this way, I’m sure to get a new customer as soon as he gets out of the cab. So, he walks a whole avenue block, just to help me out! I see why G made you the Chosen People.”
Page 105 “Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv once commented that every generation possesses a mitzva that is especially significant for its time. The mitzva for our day, he said, is to “let the Name of Heaven become beloved through you.” (Heard from R’ Asher Weiss. The directive to ‘let the Name of Heaven become beloved through you” is found in Yoma 86a).
To let the Name of Heaven become beloved through you: what an awesome privilege! Consider: Moral, finite man, filled with self-doubt and uncertainty, here today and gone tomorrow-this weak, mortal man, each of us, is entrusted with the privilege of making the Name of Heaven, the King of kings Himself, become beloved through the way we live and conduct ourselves. This is he wonderous gift of the
A-mighty to us, His children. To accept this gift and the responsibility that goes with it is to enhance not only the Name of G, but also to enrich our lives.”
From 102 Stories that changed people’s lives. By Rabbi Tzvi Nakar Tfutza Publications Israel Bookshop Publications Pages 53-55 “Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk used to say, “Everyone prays to the Creator when they want something from Him, but they don’t consider that faith obligates them to heed His will.”
Hakadosh Baruch Hu sends us challenges, and we need to understand that often He sends us these hardships to test us, to measure the strength of our faith and devotion to Him.
There was once a girl-modest, kind with excellent character traits-who couldn’t get accepted into a high school. The reason: her grades, particularly in history, geography, and math, weren’t good enough.
Her parents did everything they could do to change the school’s mind, to convince the principal to accept their daughter, but nothing helped. Their daughter had nowhere to go to school. The parents felt dejected, and their spirits were broken.
Bu the girl herself, all of thirteen years old, wasn’t broken and she wasn’t dejected. On the first day of school, when all her friends would be starting the ninth grade, she decided to volunteer at one of the local hospitals.
Let’s tale a pause here and marvel at this girl. All her friends were happily on their way to their first day of high school, while she, who had learned with them for eight years, hadn’t been accepted into any school. Rather than being despondent, she went to volunteer at a hospital.
This girl was well aware that a person can’t understand H’s ways, why certain things happen and other things don’t, and she decided that if Hakadosh Baruch Hu had orchestrated this situation, then she must accept it and continue serving Him to the best of her ability while hoping for a yeshuah.
When she walked into the hospital, the head nurse directed her to a patient, and the girl who couldn’t get into school spent her day helping the patient with whatever she needed.
That afternoon, she was about to head for home, when a woman entered the room and was greeted happily by the sick girl. The woman was the patient’s grandmother.
“What are you doing in the hospital?” the grandmother asked the young volunteer after her granddaughter introduced her. “Don’t you have to be in school?”
The young girl was a little embarrassed to admit the truth, but the grandmother wouldn’t relent, and in the end the girl told her that she had no school to attend. She hadn’t been accepted anywhere because her grades were poor.
The patient’s grandmother was stunned. She gazed at this girl sitting by her granddaughter’s bedside and said, “Well, I can tell you that as of tomorrow you’ll be able to go to school.”
What? How could that be?
The woman who had come to visit her granddaughter- and who now witnessed this girl’s superlative middos-was the principal who had refused her entry into high school. Now that she had seen how special this girl was, she understood that she had made the wrong decision, that superlative middos overshadow low grades. On the, spot she accepted the girl into her school.
I heard this story from Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein. It teaches us that a person should always do what he can and never despair. This young girl didn’t allow herself to feel broken but continued to serve her Creator while awaiting her yeshuah.
And so it was that the yeshuah wasn’t long in coming.”
“The secret to a good life- Don’t let negativity affect your positivity.”
Life’s Trips (Author Unknown From CPE)
1. We are a society that likes a lot of conveniences.
2. As a rule, we don’t like to be inconvenienced.
3. But when we travel and are on the road, we do put up with
4. The reason is that soon enough we’ll reach our destination, and
things will improve.
5. The difference is that the trip is temporary but the destination is
6. So…we don’t mind to be inconvenienced for temporary periods.
7. The inconveniences of the trip…is the tunnel, the improvements
at the destinations point-the light at the end of the tunnel.
8. Life is full of trips and travels-the goals we set are the
9. When we travel, we have various trips and various destinations.
In life, we also have various goals; they are the destination
points toward which we travel.
10.If we have goals in life, we don’t mind some inconveniences on
11. But…if we have no goals and destinations, it becomes very
12. If we establish goals for ourselves, we can more easily bear
pain, problems, disappointments and inconveniences- because we
know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that we’ll
13. On a trip we want to keep moving on. Even if a motel gives top-
notch service, we don’t want to stay there more than we need.
14. If we go through life’s trips without goals, it’s like staying in a
motel for years instead of keeping moving until the destination
we’re headed for.
15. When we travel, we need signs to follow. Otherwise we get
16. Our goals are like the signs on the road. They direct us along the
path of life. Without goals, we don’t know which way to go…and
we kind of get lost and disoriented.
17. One of the foremost goals to follow, in life is to find out what G
expects of us and act accordingly.
Arriving at a Sub-Acute is different than being in an acute hospital setting. It is important to have a health-care proxy and to feel comfortable speaking for oneself or to have another person as an advocate. There are often challenges to deal with, but sharing one’s concerns should be done with finesse – always making a kiddush H. It is not what you say but how you say it. With sweetness, so much can be accomplished. There are countless opportunities of making a kiddush H. There is much to be thankful for with a fantastic Rehab and many Sub-Acute staff who are kind and caring. Most of all it is important not to lose faith. Every day and night, I look forward to those things that bring me comfort and meaning in life. I enjoy greeting the staff and other patients as well, always saying hello, good evening, good afternoon, how are you, and thank you. I appreciate what they do for me and I make sure to tell them what a tremendous impact they make on me and other patients. Having a joyful and friendly demeanor is important. Conveying appreciation is welcomed and received in a positive way.
There are many people who never have had a personal relationship or opportunity to communicate with a Jewish person let alone one who wears a yarlmuka. To be able to converse, greet, meet someone from another faith can be sincerely meaningful and have a wonderful impact on one’s impression of those of the Jewish faith. Wherever we go, whatever we say, whatever we do, should always be mindful to do in a positive way. We are all ambassadors of H and Klal Yisroel and of ourselves as well.
What is very important is always to be sincere. That goes a long way. For a Rabbi, Rebbitzen and Chaplains there are many shailos a patient who is not familiar with might have and answering them in a positive way can make the difference of recovery. Through the years in my various positions I have had to deal with questions of what to do on Shabbos and Yom Tovim. Explaining when to be meikel and when to be machmer is important and can make the stay at a rehab facility, skilled nursing facility or hospital easier. Now that I am on the other side of the bed, my experiences are quite different.
More to be discussed next week. Until then have a wonderful week and Shabbos Kodesh. Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank