When I was a child, I lived in Toronto. At this time of year, as we counted down the days until winter break, our playgrounds were full of snow, and the line where the pavement ended was piled with mountains of hard packed snow and ice - a winter wonderland of forts and slides, hard climbs and bruised knees.
Over time, as we all know, we’ve seen less and less snow, higher temperatures and though there’s less to shovel, there’s also less fun. We need to seek winter out, rather than winter coming to us.
No, this is not a screed against climate change and its effects (though perhaps it should be). I’m finding that we all have challenges adapting to a changed world, but we have to remember to look for the good, even the fun despite the fact that we can’t readily see it.
My cousin shared a wonderful story with our family WhatsApp group. A young soldier returned from Gaza a few hours before Shabbat for a 48 hour leave. Just after hugging his wife and young daughter, he ran over to the local makolet (grocery) to get challah and a few other things before Shabbat. As he approached the register, a voice called out from behind him - “I’ll be paying for that. We are all so grateful for you,” said an older haredi man dressed in his Shabbat finery.
“No, no,” called out a woman picking out fruit from the other side of the store. “I was about to tell Kobi (the owner) that I was paying for him.”
A deep laugh rumbled from Kobi’s grizzled and weary face. “And I thank you all, but I wasn’t going to charge him a shekel in the first place! Shabbat shalom to all of you and may we all be blessed with peace so he can stay home with his family.”
There is good, happiness, and even laughter to be found when you do good for others, even in circumstances where you may not have expected to have the opportunity.
I’ll close by sharing an opportunity for you to do something good today. Federation’s annual campaign supports the vital work of several local agencies and partners in Israel. It provides for adult education and PJ Library subscriptions for children. It confronts antisemitism and advocates to government. It allows us to convene - with our partners in the community -what no other organization in Rockland can do - to celebrate Israel’s 75th for over 1000 community members, to bring 700 people to Washington, or to raise over $700,000 to date for emergency relief in Israel.
Shabbat shalom, and take your opportunity to do some good.