Dear Readers,

This week, Jews everywhere observe the Fast of the Ninth of Av, the saddest day on our calendar. Both Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on this date, unleashing a period of suffering from which our nation has never fully recovered.

The Second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred. Rather than feeling and acting like a united people, we chose to create divisions.

When we are so consumed with ourselves and our own needs, hurts and ambitions, we leave no room for anyone else. We begin to despise another person simply because of the space they consume. Our world becomes too small for anyone other than ourselves, and we resent the positions that they fill, the homes that they dwell in, and even the ideologies or politics that they adhere to. We may give reasons for why we hate them, but these reasons are secondary to the fact that they are simply occupying their own space, taking away from our own.

We remain in exile today because we need to learn how to foster baseless love—how to open ourselves up to doing wanton acts of kindness by caring for another beyond reason.

Over the last many months, we’ve seen many acts of kindness all around us. I want to share with you one example that has touched me.

My parents, being in their 80s, have not ventured out for the last several months due to COVID-19. A neighbor has been calling my mother regularly to ask if she could pick up anything for her.

This woman would always call early in the morning and say that she’s leaving soon to do her grocery shopping. Several hours later, she would ring the bell and drop off the package by the doorstep so that my parents wouldn’t risk exposure.

One day, my mother discovered what this woman had been doing during those daytime hours. Apparently, this woman’s daughter was very sick with cancer in the hospital, and she was spending her days at her bedside. Yet she kept these personal circumstances to herself, not even hinting at her plight, knowing that my mother would never trouble her with her own needs if she knew what the woman was going through.

At a time when she must have felt so distraught, pained and overwhelmed with the health challenges in her family, this selfless woman made room to think about how she could assist another—and how she could do so in the finest way possible. What an example of sheer kindheartedness, seeing beyond ourselves and expressing wanton love to another!

I want to wish this beautiful woman that her daughter should have a speedy and full recovery, and that her noble act should join with the countless others around the world to finally tip the balance and usher in an era when there will be no more illness, hardship or suffering.

Wishing you an easy fast!

Chana Weisberg

Editor, TJW