December 27, 2006 / 6 Tevet 5767
How can I possibly tell you how moved I was? My body shuddered at the sudden and unexpected touch of a far away hand. The hand of someone I didn’t even know. It was a touch of pure love and kindness. So thoughtful. I felt as if I was being told: “Know that we are family all of us. We care about you, we love you.” For goodness sakes, I didn’t even know the name of one person who had reached out to me. Tears came to my eyes.
I felt an immediate need to hug someone in return for this loving gesture. But there was no one. No face, no name. Many individuals, perhaps even you reading this letter, gave to me from their hearts. You reached out to embrace me and sent a gift to my child. More tears come to my eyes as I write this. And I hug the air.
This letter is written to express my esteem for you. For all of you. It’s the only way I can get closure on today’s experience. This is my hug to you.
I associated today’s gesture with a line in a poem by William Wordsworth about “…that best portion of a good man's life—his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
Well, in no way was the thoughtful gift we received today little. It made a big impact indeed. And it will always be remembered; certainly at the beginning of next school year when we have to buy school supplies for the kids.
Yet it is still nameless.
It would be my pleasure to meet or talk with one of you from the Philadelphia Jewish community. I want to tell you personally and authentically how much I appreciate this feeling of kinship, of family, I now feel with you.
My wife and I left our native countries almost 20 years ago to come and build a home in Israel. We left our families behind us. And although our kids know who their grandparents are, they seldom meet them. Maybe once every few years for a week or two. That’s it. The rest of the time they are merely voices on the phone. But today we feel that our family has instantly grown bigger. It’s a big deal for us.
There is such comfort when one hears the words “You’ll never walk alone”. We now know we have an extended family of brothers and sisters who will be with us, through thick and thin. We might not say it all the time or every day, but it’s good to know.
Tonight when we tuck in our children and kiss them goodnight, we’ll feel a bit more safe and more secure for their futures. Tonight when I kiss my daughter Shiri, the love of my life, I’ll think of all of you.
May each and every one of you in the Jewish community of Philadelphia be blessed with good health, happiness, and nachess from your children. Thank you.
Kibbutz Nir David