This week I'm off from work, but I arranged a side project for fun- I'm helping a friend assemble her book of poetry so that it can be presented to a publisher.
When she first asked me, I was thrilled, because she has done so much for me and I was looking forward to the opportunity to return the favour. But it was not to be. Instead, she insisted on compensating me, no matter how hard I tried to persuade her to let me do something for her.
I remember reading on numerous occasions that love requires the ability to both give and receive. Yet, when it comes to chesed, which is related to love, the ultimate is to be like my friend, and only give.
After the car accident, as my husband and I found ourselves stranded in podunk-ville New York on the eve of Chanuka, we made the acquaintance of the then Rabbi and Rebbetzin of the town. They showered us with whatever we needed, and our every effort subsequently to do for them was rewarded with their turning around and giving again. No matter how much you gave to them, their only response was to continue to give.
I think it's beautiful to be on such a madregah, and I found them inspiring, much as I am inspired by my friend the poetess. In the end, their behaviour serves as a welcome reminder that we are all interconnected, and that by performing kindness to others, you are in fact being kind to yourself, as well as the world. And ultimately, that's what a Toradik life is all about.