aish.com > Weekly Torah Portion > Beginner > Kindness Hacks

Lending an Ear

Vayeshev (Genesis 37-40 )

by Shoshanna Dresner

Sitting in prison in Egypt because of a false accusation, and prior to this being sold to slavery by his brothers, Yosef had good reason to be focused inwards, on his own problems. He had been through enough!

Yet despite having his own struggles, we see that he is completely in tune with the feelings of those around him. He noticed that his fellow inmates were looking unhappy, and asked them what was wrong. "Why do you appear sad today?" (Bereishit 40:7)

A simple action, yet enough to show that he cares.

There is a great satisfaction in getting something off one’s chest. Of simply talking about worries or struggles, even if there is no solution is in sight.

So often, people suffer greatly because they are unable to find someone with a sympathetic ear. Our sages note beautifully the therapeutic quality of telling one’s problems to others. "When there is worry in the heart of man, he should tell it to others" (Yoma 75a).

Let’s appreciate this principle in human psychology, learn a lesson from Yosef’s concern for others, and keep our eyes and ears open to people around us.

Provide the platform for people to talk. Empathize and lend an ear; you can change a life!



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