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Those who are kind benefit themselves,
but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
Proverbs 11:17
Often, the greatest way to serve others is by first giving
ourselves what others need to be given.
It says in Proverbs: “Those who are kind benefit
themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” A
kind person is one who benefits himself. If we neglect
ourselves and hurt our bodies or souls, we end up
lashing out at others and becoming a cruel person.
An interesting story is told about Hillel the Elder (first
century BCE) who, upon leaving his students, told them
that he was on his way to fulfill a Divine commandment.
The students asked Hillel which commandment in
particular he intended to perform. To his surprised
students, Hillel answered that he was going to the
bathhouse. Hillel was teaching his students that it is a
great service to God to take care of one’s own body.
In another story, Hillel announced to his students that
he was on his way to do a kindness for a guest in his
home. The students asked, “Do you always have a guest
in your home?” Hillel replied that his soul was a guest in
his body – here today, but gone one day – and that by
eating, he was being kind to his guest.
Let’s all resolve to be extra kind and loving to the guest
in our home. Let’s take care of ourselves so that we may
care for others. When we are strong and loved, we have
the strength and love to give to others.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

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