Minute #615: MIA

The two men walked silently back to the car after the funeral, which had been a respectful farewell to a simple but upright yerei Shamayim. Once they were settled, with seat belts fastened, Mr. Rosner spoke.

“I had no idea he wasn’t feeling well,” he said. “It seems like I saw him at the synagogue recently, but I guess if you say it’s been four months you must be correct.”

“Yes, he was stricken right after Rosh Hashanah and soon it’ll be Purim,” Mr. Goldfarb replied. “I visited him several times and it was sad to watch his decline. Sometimes I gave him a call. I could feel his mood change almost instantly.”

“I feel bad that I didn’t notice his absence. I certainly would’ve made a point to contact him,” Mr. Rosner said.

Not everyone you know is a close friend. Most, in fact, are not. We have neighbors, co- workers and synagogue congregants that we “know” but with whom we don’t have an ongoing day-to-day relationship. But seeing people on a regular basis and sharing social and religious circles with others puts you in a position to counsel, advise and encourage them.

But first you have to know something is wrong. Do you notice when someone is missing from the place and at the time you normally see them? The person who takes the same bus as you do to work? The individual who sits on the other side of the synagogue? The one who volunteers for the same chessed organization as you?

When they are missing in action, take action. Investigate their whereabouts and make contact. Contribute to their realization that someone noticed they were not around. It’s a lifesaver you can toss to one who feels alone.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

We have many needs, which can be classified as personal ego wants and spiritual needs. Our neshamah needs are for closeness to G-d by being loving and joyful, learning Torah, doing mitzvoth and working on our middoth. In contrast, our ego wants are for kavod (self-importance, respect), control and power over others, comfort, convenience and pleasure at the expense of spiritual principles and values… (Miriam Adahan, It’s All a Gift, p. 221)