April 6, 2010 Status report. General mood as been a 5. Having some nose bleeds. Coumadin count a bit awry. Sadder news is that someone I love has just discovered she has stage 3 breast cancer. Among the poorly insured, she hadn’t had a mameogram in 3 years. I am six months overdue for mine. Getting it today. Glad my insurance provider not only pays, but has a walk in site and I don’t need to make an appointment.
Seder thoughts. Went to two community seders both at Chabads. For those of you who don’t know a Chabad, it is an out reach program for Jews sponsored by the Chassidum or Lubavich movement. Lubavitch is a town in Russia and means “city of brotherly love.” The movement was started in the 16th centuary by the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760). The movement stresses demonstrating G-dliness in every aspect of one’s life and being so that one models the power of G-d’s love. Chassiddism also seeks to add the mystical to the more traditional practices and many Chassidium follow the Kabal.
Jews to not seek converts from other religions, in fact conversion is discouraged as Jews must obey more rules than most. If not Jewish, a person is considered “righteous” by G-d by following the Noahide laws. These form a universal moral code and forbid murder, stealing, tearing off the flesh from a living animal and eating it, idolatry, and adultery. The Noahide laws also call for setting up courts of justice to enforce the above laws. Jewish courts of law require two qualified eye witnesses who if found lying must suffer the penalty that would have been imposed on the person charged with the crime. The Chassidum want all men to abide by the Noahide rules, but their main desire is to make secular or non-observant Jews more observant.
Two things always make me happy to be at a Chabad event. The first and most important is the unconditional welcome extended to all. My personal belief is that if G-d is G-d, G-d is love and that love is felt very powerfully at the Chabad events I have attended. The love sines in the faces of those who have found their way to G-d by this particular path. I am not saying all faces shine with that love, but many do and it spreads its radiance like the sun. The second source of my happiness are the children. There are always lots of little ones at Chabad events. At both Seders not only were they included as much as possible in the services, but their need to be active and play when the services were above their head was fully recognized. Much different from the ways some houses of worships shush children or keep them separate from the main services. To be around children is always a joy.
So the Seders filled my heart.
Benjamin also continues to add joy to my world. Amy has returned to work, so now we have him to ourselves two or three days a week.
Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents, and then later on in our life when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since at the beginning and end of our lives we are so dependent on other’s kindness, how can it be in the middle that we would neglect kindness towards others?
The Dalai Lama
Kindness, as suggested not just by religious leaders, but also by mental health professionals, is in our own best interests, and not, only because someday we be dependent of the kindness of others. Here are some other reasons to practice kindness. When you are genuinely kind, the kindness is returned. When you are more kind than mean and occasionally behave thoughtlessly, you are more easily forgiven. When you are kind you are living up to your honor code. When you live by to your honor code, you feel better about yourself–you build positive self-esteem.
What about the people who think kindness is weakness? There are people who feel that way. Even more painful is that people who see kindness as a weakness often repay kindness with cruelty. What to do? Protect yourself as kindly as you can. Sometimes, that turns the person around; sometimes it doesn’t. Such is life and no excuse for failing to be kind. Take care of you, but remain caring. Never easy, but particularly important to do if the world is going to find peace.