Vayechi (Genesis 47:28-50:26 )
A wonderful 100-year-old woman, with not much family, lay very ill in hospital. Her health had very quickly deteriorated, and unfortunately her passing was imminent. Volunteers sat with her around the clock, ensuring that after 100 years surrounded by people, her final moments were not alone.
A kindness that she can never repay.
Yaakov is reaching the end of his life. He asks his son Yosef "deal with me kindly and truly" (Bereishit 27:49), requesting that he should be buried in Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people. This was his final request.
Rashi comments on the phrase "kindly and truly", that kindness shown to the dead is "true kindness" – Chesed shel Emet – because it is kindness when the giver will not be looking forward to any payment from the receiver.
"True kindness" though is not limited to kindness for the dead. Chesed done for those who show no appreciation also contain elements of Chesed Shel Emet. Mothers caring for young children who do not appreciate it, or caring for someone with special needs who can never express their love or thanks, these can be actions of pure giving.
It is important to realize how valuable these actions are, and is also an important lesson to apply to all acts of kindness. To give with the correct motivations, purely for the sake of the other person, expecting nothing in return.
Let’s keep our motives pure.
(Torah ideas are adapted from Love Your Neighbour by Zelig Pliskin)
Lilui nishmat Miriam bat Moshe, the 100-year-old lady.