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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

The toughest part of a favor: Asking for it

By Rabbi Hillel Goldberg





There is another side to kindness that is at least as important, and much harder to perform

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For most people, and most of the time, there's something a lot harder than doing a favor, or a chesed. That's accepting a favor.

Rightly and repeatedly, we are told about the centrality of chesed — of putting oneself out for others.

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Judaism is built on doing favors for and helping others. You especially hear it in this season of the High Holidays, when all of us are looking for one more merit, one more good deed, one more mitzvah, that just might make the difference in G-d's judgment.

We are urged to extend a loan, to watch a child, to visit the sick, to lend an empathetic ear, to send over a meal, to lend our car, to offer sound advice in the field of our expertise, etc. We are urged to perform these deeds by the Torah and by those who preach the Torah. We are told: Pay special attention to this before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

As well we should. "The world is built on chesed," it says in Psalms 89:3.

It is true. But there is another side to chesed that is at least as important, and much harder to perform. That is facing up to the fact that sometimes we need a big favor, and we need to ask for it.

Pride gets in the way. Everyone likes to feel independent. It is not always possible. Sometimes we need to swallow our pride, we need to ask, we need to put ourselves at the mercy of someone else.

I need a medical referral. I need money. I need to admit that my marriage is in trouble and must ask for a referral to a counselor. I need to admit that I cannot guide my child the way I want, but do not know where to turn, and must ask someone I hardly know at school, or must ask a neighbor I'm not too close to who might know about these things. My business is not going right, and I have to admit that it's beyond my competence to fix it.

The person I could ask to help me with any of these things might well be someone it kills me to share my misfortune with.

Often, it is very tough to ask for a favor. Especially a serious favor.

It's not just pride that makes it difficult. It's this: By asking someone for a favor, I know I may very well be setting myself up for being asked to give a major favor in return. That is, I am putting myself in someone else's debt.

It is certainly true that according to the Jewish Musar tradition, when one is asked to do someone else a favor, one is not allowed to make this mental calculation: "He asked me; now I will be able to ask him." Still worse: "He asked me; and I'm so glad he did, because I've needed to ask him for a favor for a long time but never had the opportunity. Now I can take advantage!"

True, while this kind of "one hand washes the other" type of thinking is not allowed by the Jewish Musar tradition, it often happens. It is a further obstacle to working up the courage to ask someone for a serious favor.

But even if you know that this exploitive response is just what is going to happen by asking a favor, when it is necessary to ask, we must ask.

It is hard to list all of the distortions and destructiveness that occur by not asking for a favor at the necessary time.

Marriages are lost.

Friendships are broken.

Businesses go under.

Critical medical treatment is not sought.

Children go off the path.

All along, we can easily congratulate ourselves on our independence, our not being dependent on others, our heroism, our dignity.

A very misplaced dignity, it is. A very incorrect understanding of heroism, it is.

The human race is interdependent, and is meant to be. No person can do everything himself, nor should he. We are meant to help others, and to be helped by others.

Yes, it is probably true that we could all do more chesed — extend more help to others. But given the well known teaching that the children of Abraham our Father, the paragon of chesed, are doers of chesed, it is probably a lot more true that we could all use more encouragement in asking for a serious favor when we need one.

We could all use a lesson in swallowing our pride, in admitting that someone else out there can do something better than we can, or knows something that we do not, or has better connections than we do.

I am clearly not talking about the minor matters of the day, such as asking an acquaintance for $5 because you've only got a $20 bill, or asking for a cup of sugar from your neighbor because you ran out. I'm talking about the big things in life.

It is not enough always to be putting oneself out for others, as admirable, necessary and noble as that is. It is necessary also to be able to seek favor, to ask for it, when you need to.

In fact, sometimes it is toughest precisely for the biggest doer of favors to ask for one.

But, at times, we all need to. And we should. We should not be embarrassed. We are meant not only to help others, but to be helped by others.

The fact that the person we ask may come back at us to ask for a favor in return, perhaps even a bigger favor, must not deter us from asking.

This, too, is part of the preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. To be dependent on other people, when this is necessary, is tremendous training for being dependent on the Master of the World

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JWR contributor Rabbi Hillel Goldberg is Executive Editor of the Intermountain Jewish News.






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