Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Lets start by talking about the movie “Frozen.”
If you have not seen “Frozen” you may be quite confused, however those of you who have, know that it is not your typical Disney movie. While in many other Disney classics the damsel in distress is saved by her “true love”, AKA the prince, In “Frozen” it was an unexpected act of kindness by her sister that saved princess Ana.
So you may be wondering, what does this have to do with my torah portion B’har? Well, we learn in B’har that kindness occurs in many surprising ways. Many of us think that kindness is just an act of being nice to one another, but it is really much more than that. We all have our own ideas of what kindness really is. Is there really one specific key to kindness? Well, my portion explains a view that I had never really thought about before:
Kindness works in a cycle. If you treat others with kindness, you’ll get it back in return. But it’s not just about how you treat people. My portion shows that if you treat the LAND with kindness, it can also be kind to you in return. In the Torah, the land is supposed to rest every seven years, just the way people rest every seventh day, on Shabbat.
The 7th year is called Shmitta – and in fact, the next Jewish year will be a Shmitta year, beginning on Rosh Hashanah. That means that in Israel, many farmers will not grow their crops next year to allow the land to replenish itself.
The logic goes that if you treat the land kindly, it will yield lots of produce. And that in turn gives us food to eat – and not only eat but to share with others, including those who are less fortunate, which in itself is another act of kindness.
So it’s a full circle. That is the key to kindness. My portion explains many other ways we can be kind in terms of the environment, our social life, and our business and daily interactions.
I can really relate to this torah portion because kindness is a very important aspect of my own life. I strive to complete this same cycle by showing kindness to others; I have often heard phrases like “Shayna you’re too nice”, or “Shayna doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.” And I’m proud of that.
Another way I demonstrate kindness is through my passion of cooking healthy food for my family and friends. Almost every night I help in the kitchen, but let’s face it, on most nights I am the Iron Chef of the house and my parents are the sous chefs. I extend my passion for being kind to others by baking for the Hadassah tea-at-two at Stamford Hospital for the patients and staff to enjoy.
My mitzvah project also ties directly into my Torah portion which says “share what you have, don’t let anyone go hungry”. I made and sold bows to raise money for Blessings in a Backpack, a charitable organization that provides backpacks of food to school children who do not have enough to eat over the weekends. I am still accepting donations to help students right here in Stamford.
If there is one lesson you take away from my Torah portion, it is very simple, BE NICE! Don’t be hatin’, Stop sippin’ on the hateraid, be kind to your family and friends, be kind to the environment, and be kind to everyone. If you need help remembering these lessons, watch the movie “Frozen” and be inspired by its acts of kindness.