Honorable Mensch-ion

A Place to Smile

A house of worship is supposed to be a safe, sacred place. Last Sunday in Sutherland Springs, TX, a holy ground turned into a place of death and destruction. We know from our tradition, that in these most difficult times, an ordinary act of kindness can be exalted.

The Torah tells us that Rebecca quickly emptied her jar, and she ran back to the well to draw, and drew for all of Abraham’s camels. Rabbi Chaim Luzatto teaches “The man whose soul yearns to perform the will of his Creator will not be lazy in the performance of God’s mitzvot. His movements will be as the quick movements of a fire.” Rabbi Isaac Sher comments that even a seemingly minor action such as giving someone water, can be spiritually elevated when prompted by the proper motivation.

This week, I watched a small act of chesed bring cheer to the faces of the Sinai Temple community. We have been graced by the presence of two Israeli medical clowns visiting the children in our schools and local hospitals.

One of the clowns explained that his job in the army was to do exactly what he does….be a clown. The first time he left Israel was to visit earthquake-stricken Haiti, for the sole purpose of bringing a smile to a child’s face. I cannot think of another country who has a soldier dedicated to being a clown. When he saw the impact this had on the people around him, he began to pursue medical clowning as a profession.

There is evil, sadness, disappointment, and loss in our world. Yet, one clown walking down the hall can change our frown into a smile. It is a small act, but one smile always leads to another.

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