Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
“Shalom Sivan, I am one of the smiling faces in this picture but I prefer to remain anonymous. This is a group picture of the men and women who contributed a kidney this year through the ‘Matnat Chaim’ (Gift of Life) organization. The picture was taken in Jerusalem just after Shabbat, which had been a highly emotional experience for us. All the people I spoke with agreed that they had received a lot more than they had given – the opportunity to save a life. This social movement of donating a kidney without compensation, voluntarily, is connected in my opinion with the beginning of the book of Genesis and the establishment of the nation of Israel. It involves the episode where Moshe Rabbeinu encounters the daughters of Yitro together with the local shepherds who do not allow the daughters to draw water. ‘But the shepherds came and drove them (Yitro’s daughters) away; so Moses arose and rescued them (the daughters) and watered their (the daughters’ but also the shepherds’) flocks.’ (Exodus 2:17) It should have been written that Moshe watered only the daughters’ flocks since they were the victims of the bully shepherds. But no, Moshe also watered the bullies’ flocks. If Moshe had chased away the bullies and their flocks, they would have returned the next day and continued to bother the daughters. Moshe took the step of a leader when he not only watered the daughters’ flocks but the bullies’ flocks, too. He watered everyone’s flocks, a solution that was creative, different, and off the beaten track, but it worked.
What’s the message of this story? When we encounter a difficult problem, We don’t solve it by looking for a quick solution but by looking beneath the surface at the deeper issue involved. We also need to think about what will happen tomorrow. In my opinion this is what ‘Matnat Chaim’ is all about. The founder of this organization, Rav Yeshayahu Haber, had a medical issue where he himself needed a kidney transplant. However, he did not stop with solving his personal problem but created an organization that would address the problem at its depth for anyone who needed a kidney. And this is how we need to look at the world. I am happy that I could do my small part to contribute to this project.