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Thursday, August 27, 2015
Elul 13 - Kavod: Respect, Dignity, Honor - by Linda Sandmel
Chesed Shel Emet is the ultimate act of love and kindness. Many people symbolically participate by placing a few shovels of earth onto the casket or vault. Because this is something the deceased cannot do for him or herself; and since the deceased cannot repay -- or even simply thank the mourners for seeing to his or her proper Jewish burial, this becomes the ultimate, unselfish act of love and kindness.
27 years ago, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I’ve gone through treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant. I am presently going through my ninth round of chemotherapy,
Family, friends and even strangers have prayed for me, sent me cards and books, cooked meals for my family and have driven me when I couldn’t drive myself. Each of these acts has been unselfish and I haven’t been able to begin to show my gratitude for all the love that has surrounded me.
How could I repay the practice of KAVOD – helping other people?
I became a member of the Pathways Hospice Threshold Comfort Singers. We go to the besides of Hospice patients who are at the end of their lives and sing to them and their families. Oftentimes, a patient will pass away shortly after our visit. The deceased is not able to repay or even thank the singers for helping them at the end of their lives.
Our singing brings peace and comfort, not only to the patient, but also to the family members at the bedside.
Each time I am privileged to sing, I am giving back in the ways people have honored me when I couldn’t repay them for help when I needed it.
Each of us can show gratitude in our lives by taking small steps to respect and honor others in ways they might not even know. Put money in the Shaare Emeth tzedakah box each time you are at temple. Help a homeless person on the corner with a fast food gift card or a sandwich and soda.
Make 5776 the year of Chesed Shel Emet in your own life – doing an ultimate act of love and kindness!
You will receive incredible inner rewards for yourself.
Linda Sandmel, Para-Rabbinic, head of the Shaare Emeth Shiva Committee
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