Most of us will help another person when needed. It’s called chessed. Something we were taught when we were tiny tots. But chessed comes in two very distinct packages. One is doing as much as was requested. “Ok, I’m done? Great! Now I can get back to my regular life.” And then there’s the other kind. The person who looks around when the job is done, thinking, “What else can I do for him?” Two varieties. So very different.
Rav Chananya Chollak, the founder of Ezer Mizion, is of the second variety and has devoted his life to helping others is so many ways. His attitude filters down to every staff member and volunteer and enters their very beings. Their association with Ezer Mizion causes them to become givers of the ‘high road’ type.
Like a Rechovot Linked to Life volunteer who drives a sick child for his treatment every week. His commitment cuts into his personal schedule with several hours a week no longer available to him. What with all his other responsibilities, no one expects him to do more. He has no obligation but he searches. “What else can I do?” He has developed a close relationship with the boy and discovered the child’s love for soccer. And so there you will find him, at the soccer games, sitting with his young friend who is exuberantly cheering his favorite team. He also cheers, quietly, not for the team, but for the success of this child in his battle for life.
Or how about Nechamy who handles one of the Ezer Mizion branches. She has specific hours. Doesn’t every employee? But Nechamy is an Ezer Mizion employee and is not watching the clock. Her whole day is one of giving but for Nechamy, that’s not enough. It was after hours. She was home already. She had a list of things to do. But then a call came in for a boy who was in need of crutches. Would anyone fault her if she politely informed the family that the branch was closed for the day and would not reopen till tomorrow? Of course not. Especially since the crutches are being loaned, like many much more expensive, state of the art pieces of medical equipment, at no cost. But that wasn’t Nechamy’s way. Off she went again, back to the branch, to retrieve the correct pair of crutches and race to meet a volunteer who was on her way to the boy’s neighborhood. Why? Simple. Because someone needed help.
And then there was the young man who was soon to be Bar Mitzvah. For years he had imagined himself standing by the bimah (lectern) in shul (synagogue) leining (reading) his parsha (Torah portion of the week) on that very special day. It was time to begin practicing. Just one problem. He was hospitalized. A friend suggested calling Ezer Mizion. Perhaps they would have an idea. It wasn’t long before a roster of volunteers was set up, warm, giving men who would sit by his hospital bedside teaching the trop (notes) to a Bar Mitzva bochur whose spirit so desperately wanted to be like everyone else. Oh, how he looked forward to those hours singing with his new friends ‘mapach pashta…zokeif katan’…(notes used in the reading of the Torah)
It’s called chessed. The ‘high road’ variety.