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To listen and lighten their load

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Yesterday I heard about a mother of several small children who is herself a teacher. She has been trying to deliver a class on Zoom to first graders (an impossible mission) and at the same time hook up her own children to a Zoom session with a kindergarten teacher (another impossible mission).

I also heard about a girl who – just before her Bat Mitzvah ceremony that was planned in her courtyard with a few guests – was compelled to enter isolation due to her friend testing positive for the coronavirus.

Stories like these are of course of little consequence compared to the stories of those who are laid off, sick, or have passed away.

What can we do in the midst of this wave of adversity? The book of Job tells us about a man who has to cope with many disasters. Job loses his property, his health, his children. When his friends try to help and console him, he makes a powerful statement: "Listen well to what I say and thus you will console me." In other words, just listening to me will be my consolation. Don't talk and give reasons for my distress or solutions to my problems, but just listen, hear me out, and so you will comfort me
We cannot donate money to everyone and solve everyone's problems, but we can at least listen. To be there for others.  To hear them in order to bring consolation, to lighten their load, and to give them strength.


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