FROM THE RABBI’S DESK – SHEMINI:
I was asked by some congregants to summarize some of the points I made on Yizkor morning during my sermon which are based on the comments of the Chafetz Chaim, in his book, Ahavat Chesed. In writing about Chesed, the Chafetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, indicates that chesed comes not only in terms of action, but in speech itself.
He enumerates several aspects of chesed as manifested in speech. 1) Teaching is an example of chesed as the teacher, professional or otherwise, shares knowledge with one’s students, children, associates, etc. 2) One who is able to calm an irate individual who is angry with somebody in particular performs a chesed in reaching out to the other, and perhaps reconciling two distraught individuals. 3) One who through speech prevents something bad from happening to somebody performs a chesed. 4) One whose speech benefits an individual in a positive way fulfills a chesed for an individual who may otherwise not have benefitted. 5) One who gives proper counsel to others with no hidden agenda is fulfilling the mitzvah of chesed. 6) One who shows compassion and empathy for someone who is depressed is performing chesed. 7) Praying for the recovery of a sick individual is reflective of chesed.
This coming Sunday evening, we as a community will be remembering the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. By remembering them, we perform a chesed with these Kedoshim who gave up their lives sanctifying the name of Hashem. The words that Moshe uses in reference to the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aaron, citing G-dâ€™s words that those who are close to Hashem sanctify His name come to mind as we enter into the period of Yom Hashoah.