About once a week for the past six months I've gone up to my friend's for "movie night." Now, I'm not a movie enthusiast. The truth is, I simply don't have the time and, I've never wanted to make it. Fine for everyone else but I've got other things to do.

But even so, I make the trip. I've gone up there when temps have hovered around minus 30 and I've gone up there when temps have been zero on the Celsius scale. I've gone up during rain or snow, full moon or quarter moon and this summer during the long northern days I imagine I'll make the short trip when the sun is shining brightly. To be honest, the movies have been good and very enjoyable. But that's not why I go.

When Jill was born her doctor advised her parents to "let her go"I do it for one reason and one reason only. I do it for the company that has proven to be exceptional and even inspirational.

It doesn't matter how I feel when the hands of the clock hit seven in the evening. I could be tired from a long day's work inside or out or even thinking about work. I could be wound up by family problems or my stomach could be tied up in knots because the world is stepping up its attack against Israel. All of it or none of it, it doesn't matter because when I get out of my car and walk up the graveled path all my concerns slip away when I see Jill, my friend's forty-two year old daughter with a disability standing at the window, waiting for my arrival.

When Jill was born her doctor advised her parents to "let her go." Now that's a euphemism for you know what. Jill's mother informed the doctor that she would only permit the infant to go one place and that was directly to her heart.

And that's what happened.

When she finally took the baby home, she loved her, cuddled her, nurtured her, protected her, advocated for her, taught her, cried for joy when a landmark was passed, cried in frustration and sometimes cried because she simply needed to.

When Jill's mother remarried, Jill's stepfather became her real father, loving her, supporting her and fighting for her, doing everything that a father does to protect and cherish the child that he loves.

Our Torah demands that "you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not ill treat any widow or orphan." (Exodus 22:20-21) We're instructed to protect the vulnerable, aren't we? Our society has come to recognize the importance of doing so. Widows, orphans, children and adults with disabilities; all are vulnerable and need to be shielded from a world that tends to look the other way when harm is done, or simply looks the other way because so many are made uncomfortable by the circumstances of these most vulnerable members of G‑d's creation.

All of them need to be assured of a roof over their heads, healthy food, access to health care and education. So, our government provides the services, and extraordinary parents like Diane and Rob provide the advocacy, love, patience and day-to-day teachings.

So, as a society, we do for them and for some reason it never occurs to us that we are not the only givers in this relationship. We do not seem to realize that these very special people are themselves teachers and givers.

We do not seem to realize that these very special people are themselves teachers and giversThe Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, taught that everything we see and hear in this world offers a lesson on how to serve our Creator. It is up to us to find that lesson.

Taking him at his word, I began searching for lessons in regards to Jill and I have found that she is one of my greatest teachers.

When I carry on a conversation with Jill I watch as she searches for words. Often times, it's a slow search as she deliberates over the meaning of the question asked and deliberates once again as she searches for her response. She doesn't scatter words as I do. Often times I'm not even conscious of the effect my words might have. There are times that I don't even hear the complete statement or question.

My need to express my thoughts overwhelms the appropriateness of my response. And I'm not alone in this, am I? So many of us rush to express our opinions, heedless of the other's feelings, circumstances or even the facts. Jill teaches the importance of examining the question and answer from every angle. She demonstrates the Talmud's precept of showing concern for another's feelings. "Embarrassing another in public is akin to shedding blood," our rabbis said. Jill's careful consideration of her words teaches us to avoid this.

When Jill spends time at the local care center, volunteering her time, she's always eager to help. She knows her job and won't permit anyone to do it for her. She tries to anticipate the needs of the residents. Physically, there may not be a great deal that she can do but she is constantly asking if there's anything the residents need. Are they okay? Are they happy?

She focuses on the people, forgetting her own disabilities. She teaches concern for others. She teaches me that I am not the center of the universe and that on days when I would like to abdicate all responsibility I realize that abdication is not an option. G‑d needs each of us to fulfill our end of the bargain. It doesn't matter if the bargain entails speaking a few positive words, shoveling walks for the elderly, performing surgery or splitting the Red Sea. Each is an integral part of God's contract, a contract that we all signed.

She teaches me that I am not the center of the universe and that abdication is not an optionI'm sure that many of Jill's days are fraught with frustration. After all, it can take up to two hours just to get ready to start the day. It's a struggle to sit up in bed, grab her walker and get to the bathroom and back. Her progress is slow and most days she has to concentrate fully on each step that she takes. There are no shortcuts for her. It has always been and always will be one step at a time. Her patience as she moves across the floor is inspirational.

I, on the other hand, am not a big fan of the one step at a time theory. I'd like to skip the middle ground. I plant tomato seeds in my green house and if I'm not canning within three weeks I fight the urge to give the seedlings a good talking to. The same holds true for my rickety spiritual ladder. I'd prefer to start at the bottom and skip the middle rungs to the top. That, of course, is a recipe for disaster. No skipping is allowed.

Each and every step in life is needed in order to absorb the lessons that we need to learn. Each step is needed in order to learn how to perform a task well.

Jill's ability to concentrate on her own personal rituals is extraordinary. Whether she's taking her medications, sticking stickers in her sticker book or writing in her diary, she's entirely absorbed in what she is doing. Nothing distracts her.

Many times my own rituals are less focused. I might rush through morning prayers, do a quick blessing on my food in the afternoon over lunch or forget to kiss the mezuzah on my way in or out. If I were to emulate Jill's desire to concentrate think how much more connected I would be to G‑d and His world. Think about how much I could learn.

We were all created for a unique purpose and we were all given the ability to teach and to learn. For most, our special G‑d-given-purpose will not make the headlines of a national newspaper but that doesn't make it any less important in the grand scheme of His plan. Each and every person is necessary in G‑d's world. Each of us holds an important piece of the puzzle that will help heal His world.

In addition, when we learn, most of us don't learn at the same pace. For some, learning may appear slow but the slowness doesn't alter the fact that they are learning and the slower pace doesn't limit their ability to teach.

For me, Jill has proven to be a remarkable teacher. She has taught me the importance of choosing my words carefully, of focusing on my rituals and the necessity of navigating through life's lessons one step at a time. She has also taught that the little things that we do for others are just as important as the big things.