You hear of a sad story. A man who lost his job. A women who lost her health. A family who lost their hope.
"What can I do?" you think, feeling powerless. "What can one person do?"
If only we knew. If only we understood just how much we can do.
Jewish tradition teaches that our prayers and our actions can change the entire world. A good deed is more than a positive gesture: it can be a transformative act whose spiritual energy resonates in the most proactive and material of ways, renovating and healing the physical world in which we live.
A dear member of the Aish family needs all of us to pitch in and change her world.
For Ruchama Rivka Resnick, the 13-year-old daughter of an Aish rabbi in Jerusalem, numerous rounds of chemotherapy and three separate bone marrow transplants haven't beaten the leukemia she is fighting. Getting her into remission is no simple task; many of the most effective medicines can no longer be used, as she has already received the full cumulative dosage possible.
This precious girl is very creative; she loves painting, drawing and all types of crafts. She is also very serious about her studies, and always strives to do the right thing.
Ruchama Rivka and her family needs a tremendous amount of divine assistance to make the right decisions, get the best treatment – and gain a full and speedy recovery. Not to mention the strength and emotional courage to continue facing this challenge.
What can you do to help?
Enlist in what we're calling "The Ruchama Project." Commit to doing at least one act of kindness each day, everyday – in the merit of our beloved family members.
The Talmud says it was baseless hatred that brought about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Thus, it is only through unconditional love that our idyllic future will be built. In the words of King David (Psalms 89:3): Olam chesed yi-baneh – "the world is built on kindness."
Putting It Into Practice
How can your doing acts of kindness help Ruchama Rivka?
Since Ruchama Rivka is the impetus for these acts of healing, she shares as a beneficiary of the merit accrued.
Your daily Ruchama Project need not be grand.
Make someone at the office coffee, help your neighbor carry the groceries; refrain from speaking negatively about others (even holding your tongue just once); give a meaningful compliment; visit someone in the hospital (even a stranger); donate money to a worthwhile charity; let someone pull ahead of you in traffic; buy an impoverished child a toy; or send flowers to a widow.
A point to consider: There is a concept in giving charity, which can be applied to kindness in general, that giving anonymously is the highest level of giving – since your intention is more pure because you have no expectation of return. The spiritual effect is also greater because the recipient isn't embarrassed in facing his/her benefactor.
This must be balanced, however, against the power of building a relationship between the giver and the recipient. If doing the kindness openly will enhance friendship and harmony, then that may be the better approach. Since each case is different, we suggest that you consider these factors and make a judgment whether the kindness will achieve more if done anonymously or openly.
The important thing is that a kindness is done each day – for no other reason than you want to bring goodness into the world.
When you perform your kindness, have in mind that the merit should go for the complete and speedy recovery of:
Ruchama Rivka bat (daughter of) Bracha Leah
In the comments box below, please share your ideas for kindness, to inspire others to do the same.
May the Almighty send a physical and spiritual healing to all His people.
You can send uplifting words of inspiration, humor [she enjoys a good joke!] and good wishes to Ruchama Rivka at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ruchama Project is also dedicated to the memory of Elana Rosenblatt, a 28-year-old mother of four and an Aish rebbetzin in London, on August 8, 2001 (19 Av 5761). May the soul of Elana Golda bat Yisroel Mordechai be bound in the bond of eternal life.