Sunday, May 1, 2011


                                Welcome to the “Refuah for Chaim” blog.
Since Chaim Feigenbaum, Chaim Yissachar ben Chaya Mushkit, was diagnosed with leukemia, everyone has been davening feverishly and have been making every effort to bring him a refuah shelaima. The lists of tehillim were filled so quickly, women have baked challah, many have organized or attended shiurim, many meals have been cooked and so many people have offered support.  All of these remarkable efforts have shown how amazing Chaim’s “extended family” is.  And still people always ask: What can I do for Chaim? Chaim has had a successful remission and in order to hasten the process of recovery he has chosen to undergo a bone marrow transplant. As Chaim enters a new stage in his treatment , here is something we can all do together.

With Chaim’s encouragement, we would like to tap into the beautiful power of giving that our community has already shown and create even more opportunities of giving as a source of merit for Chaim’s refuah. The goal of this blog is to encourage everyone who loves Chaim, either because you personally know and love him or simply because he is a fellow member of the Jewish people, to unite as a community and grow together in a way that will create merits for the complete refuah of Chaim and other cholim.
      So how powerful is an act of giving?  Can chesed, or giving, really infuse Chaim and each of us with true life?  The Torah says “U’vacharta baChaim”- Choose Chaim - life. One could translate the word Chaim, literally life, in this context to mean that we should choose well or good. But the Nesivos Shalom explains as follows: Chesed is the foundation of life itself. After all, the world was built through the chesed of Hashem and the life of each individual is given through His chesed.  In “U’vacharta bachaim,” Hashem is commanding us to imitate Him and to choose chesed in our dealings with others.  Choosing chesed is choosing to give life. So let’s join together and choose life for Chaim by choosing to infuse our lives and the lives of those around us with acts of chesed!
There have been campaigns in the past promoting “random acts of kindness.”  Ideas such as putting a quarter in someone else’s meter as it’s about to expire or treating the guy behind you to a free lunch. These are beautiful acts.
     However, we would encourage everyone to do something much greater! Let’s commit to perform “Determined Acts of Kindness.”  A Determined Act of Kindness is a commitment to give to someone else even though it is challenging, and maybe even feels a bit unnatural.  Random acts of kindness sounds great. It’s when you’re feeling happy, it’s sunny outside and everything is going smoothly and you think to yourself, “Wow, let me do something nice today!” But a Determined Act of Kindness is much greater: It means smiling at someone even when it’s a cold, rainy day, you overslept, you can’t find your cell phone, you’re late for work and your kids are late for school! While a smile may seem like a small act of giving, the impact on the other person may be great, and the impact on you, the giver, is tremendous.
Why? Because it’s hard. When we are determined enough to give to another person even when it is difficult for us, our “kindness muscles” grow and we become stronger and more full of life. And with each Determined Act of Kindness that we do, we are creating tremendous merits for Chaim.
       With Hashem’s help, we hope to post a new short idea about chesed periodically, in writing or as an audio or video recording. We hope that by learning something about chesed, the merit of our Torah learning will be a merit for Chaim. But the most special part is that  the dvar torah will end with a “focus.” The focus’s purpose is to motivate us to do something that is just slightly beyond our current level of comfort. This focus is a practical idea that we will take with us and do that week (and hopefully beyond). It will be something small and seemingly insignificant, but it may make a huge difference in someone else’s life.
       The focus may be an act of giving or maybe even a thought of goodwill toward another when we might have otherwise felt jealous of him or her. Yes, that’s right, even thoughts of love or empathy toward others are an essential element of the mitzvah to love others.  Now, the first few focuses may seem a bit forced or unnatural.  But stick with it!  Because we’re growing, even if the growth is not perceptible at that moment.  Over time, we will be able to look back and see how much we ourselves have grown from the collection of focuses we have accomplished in Chaim’s merit.
      Sometimes we see a certain person and think, “Oh wow! She’s such an amazing person, she has foster  kids, invites homeless people to her Shabbos table and even bakes her own challah.” Or, “He’s such a doer; he’s president of the shul, he’s on hatzalah, and gives tons to tzedakah. I can never do that. I’m not so amazing.” But no!!! It is amazing that they do all that. But Hashem knows that a smile at one’s spouse, parent or child on a stressful day might be even a greater act of chesed and might make you the true giver.
       This week’s focus (yes, we’re already growing!) is to commit to become a member of the “Refuah for Chaim” family and to commit to learn about, and do, Determined Acts of Kindness for the merit of Chaim Yissachar ben Chaya Mushkit and other cholim.
                                                     Week One
Introduction to "Determined Acts of Kindness"

Make a real commitment to join the learning and practice of Determined Acts of Kindness for Chaim.

R' Moshe Tzvi Weinberg
R' Weinberg is a rebbe at Torah Academy of Bergen County where he teaches gemarah, chumash,
 mishnah and chassidus. Additionally he gives a variety of inspirational shiurim throughout the week in the broader Teaneck community.   Most importantly, he is Chaim's brother in law.

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