Long ago our sages declared: “The All-Merciful God desires heart.” An admonition that we live with “heart,” and strive to be kind and giving people. That is the foremost message that I hope our young people learn about our religion. That behind all of the blessings and prayers that we Jews recite, and behind all of the religious rituals that we perform, there is the message that the highest expression of Judaism, and the truest love of God, begins with that quality of human kindness, and our capacity to see something of ourselves in other people.
And for sure, it is one of the amazing and beautiful realities of life that no one can sincerely try to help another person without helping him/herself at the same time. Yes, we become richer and deeper people the more we are able to give of ourselves.
I love the thoughts expressed by the poet Emily Dickinson, as they speak to what I have experienced here during this past week.
“If I can stop one heart from breaking I shall not live in vain.
If I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin into his nest again; I shall not live in vain.”