A Daily Dose of Kindness
On August 9, 2001, a suicide bomber detonated himself in the Sbarro Pizza parlor in downtown Jerusalem, killing or wounding over 100. Among those killed was Shoshana Greenbaum, a religious school teacher from Los Angeles, in her early 30s, who was expecting her first child. (She was also her parents’ only child.) Her husband, Shmuel, who was not with her that day, describes himself as going from the being the happiest man in the world, married to the most wonderful woman, to the loneliest.
To maintain his sanity, Shmuel dedicated himself to promoting acts of kindness, large and small, and sending out A Daily Dose of Kindness emails detailing such acts to a list that eventually grew to two million. (A collection of A Daily Dose of Kindness dealing only with examples in Israel is available through the Partners in Kindness website.) To the question he is frequently asked – How can you continue to believe in Hashem after what happened to you? – Shmuel always offers the same answer: “After reading about acts of kindness and G-dliness every day and doing acts of kindness myself, how can I not believe in G-d?”
Out of his unbearable tragedy, Shmuel Greenbaum has taught us all a vital lesson: Nothing deepens our love for Hashem more than becoming aware of the beautiful world He created for us. And nothing instills that awareness more strongly than focusing on all the good of which human beings are capable in countless everyday ways.
Shmuel is a close personal friend of mine. Many years ago, when we were both single in yeshiva, he took me by the hand and taught me to read lashon hakodesh, from the bottom up, with great patience. He did this despite the fact that he was already holding by much faster and deeper learning. He was a tremendous baal chesed in so many ways then and that midda had only gotten stronger with the tragedy of loosing his wife. Often we see people that are capable of chesed when everything is going well for them, but tend to close up as soon as things get rough. As the haskamos to mussar seforim sometimes read: Yafa darash v’yafa m’kayim.