A Grand Demonstration of Love

Yael Eckstein  |  December 24, 2020

Packing meals for delivery at Mana Hama Soup Kitchen during coronavirus crisis
Food distribution at soup kitchens during COVID-19 virus pandemic. Man packing prepared meals on table for delivery.

Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. — Genesis 46:29

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Vayigash, which means “and he approached,” from Genesis 44:18–47:27.

It wasn’t news when I changed my oldest daughter’s diaper for the first time, or when my husband did. However, when Prince William changed his first son’s diaper, the news went viral. Why? Because princes don’t need to change diapers. They have nurses and nannies to do the dirty work. Yet, Prince William chose to change a diaper even though he didn’t have to in a grand demonstration of love for his son that had the whole world saying, “Aww….”

In this week’s Torah portion, we read about the reunion between Joseph and his father Jacob. The verse informs us that, “Joseph had his chariot made ready and went… to meet his father…” However, according to Jewish tradition, Joseph harnessed the horses for the chariot himself, even though as Egyptian royalty, there were plenty of servants to do it for him. Joseph chose to prepare the horses and chariot personally as a grand demonstration and expression of love and honor for his father.

Express Love for Others

We live in a world where it is common to pay other people to do the less-than-glamorous stuff in life. We can pay nannies to change diapers and nurses to take care of elderly parents. We can get take-out for dinner and buy the blankets and sweaters our grandmothers once made by hand. Even in the realm of helping others, we can write out a check and have others do the work of feeding the hungry or clothing the poor.

There is nothing wrong with any of these things, and they certainly help us be much more productive and efficient. However, Joseph teaches us that sometimes it is good to get involved with our own two hands — not because we have to, but because we want to.

Whether it is cooking a meal for someone who needs food, sending a hand-written note to someone who is lonely, or shoveling snow for someone who can no longer do it on their own, there is no substitute for our own hands. They are, after all, an extension of our heart, and the best way to express our love.

Your Turn:

What is your favorite way to help others and let them know you care?

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