Kindness Is Always Repaid
Yael Eckstein | April 20, 2023
So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back. — Numbers 12:15
Compassion is one of Judaism’s highest values and this caring concern and empathy for our fellow human beings is considered one of the three distinguishing marks of being Jewish. Enjoy these 11 devotions on this very important concept for Christians and Jews.
A few decades ago, the State of Israel did not yet have modern legal protections for maternity leave, and a young expectant mother was afraid that she might lose her job. Because her husband had recently lost his job, her situation was especially precarious. One day at the office, the woman told her co-workers about her fears not knowing that the company’s owner, Mr. Fleisher, was listening nearby.
Later, with Mr. Fleisher present, people were discussing their family origins, as Jews in Israel often do. The expectant mother described her family in Brooklyn. When she mentioned that her grandfather was an electrician, Mr. Fleisher started asking questions. “What was your grandfather’s name?” After she answered, Mr. Fleisher left the room and returned a few minutes later with red eyes.
Mr. Fleisher then described how his own father, who had also been an electrician, died penniless. At the time, the other more successful Jewish electrician in the community took care of the Fleishers. He even sold off the deceased man’s equipment to provide funds for the family.
Mr. Fleisher then explained that the person he was describing was none other than this young woman’s grandfather. “You will always have a job here, and I’ll give your husband one, too,” he finally said, happy to be able to repay the kindness given to him.
Kindness Is Always Repaid
In the Book of Numbers, we read about Miriam, Moses’ sister being punished by God with leprosy for speaking ill of Moses. As a result of this impure state, Miriam was quarantined for seven days, “So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back.”
As the verse clearly implies, at this point the children of Israel were meant to move on in their journey, but the Cloud of Glory did not rise, a sign from God that they should wait. The entire nation was held back in their progress to the Promised Land in honor of Miriam.
The Jewish sages explained that over 80 years earlier, Miriam had waited on the banks of the Nile to see that her baby brother Moses would be found and taken care of. Now, because of that kindness, 600,000 Israelites waited respectfully for Miriam so that she would be cared for. No matter how long it may take, kindness is always repaid.
Let’s all put in extra effort to show compassion and kindness to all who are in need. Somewhere along the way, this kindness will be repaid when we need it most.