Thoughts On Shavuot: Cultivating Kindness

It’s fitting that Shavuot is taking place just one week after Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), as on Shavuot we honour the “land flowing with milk and honey”—referring to the Land of Israel—by enjoying delicious dairy meals throughout the holiday.

There are many meanings and messages embedded within the holiday of Shavuot—it is known to be the time when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai (the time of Matan Torah), and it is also referred to as the Harvest Holiday, emphasizing the need for giving to charity. In the spirit of a dairy-focused holiday, Shavuot teaches us a ‘three (ice cream) scoop’ approach for cultivating kindness.

The first scoop in our ice cream cone of kindness is simple. Small acts of caring can make a big difference. In his remarks about Shavuot, Rabbi Elazar says, “anyone who performs charity and justice is considered as if he filled the whole world in its entirety with kindness.” When we open our hearts to thinking about others, we are acting according to the spirit of Shavuot.

The second scoop comes from Megillat Ruth, the book read on the second day of the holiday. The Book of Ruth focuses on the power of compassion—a principle very close to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, which combines compassionate care with advanced medicine, to provide the best treatment for all patients.

The third scoop blends the first two together, to create our most delicious ice cream cone. Shavuot challenges us to always extend kindness, especially in relationships where we may not know who the person is, or what they need.

At Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, the kindness from the generous support of our community, is felt and appreciated every day, by patients undergoing lifesaving surgeries, new lives born into the world, and innovative advancements and discoveries that are made by the hospital. When there is kindness, giving, selflessness, compassion, and charity, we can save, deliver, and change lives. This allows everyone a taste of the ice cream cone of kindness, which makes life oh so sweet for all. Chag Shavuot Sameach, Happy Shavuot!

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