Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Random Acts of Kindness

Malochim in our Midst


  Nissim (miracles) do happen in all of our lives.  Sometimes we do not recognize them.  We are too busy with our daily tasks, our many responsibilities, the trials and tribulations that inadvertently accompany our steps as we want to make the hours as comfortable as possible for our loved ones and ourselves. Too often we contemplate the “evil” that was done to us by those who speak loshon horah (evil ) about us, who snub us, who look down or reject us.  We are so busy dwelling on the burdensome,  negative experiences or feelings that we forget the wonderful, unexpected deeds that befell us, often when we least expected them.  They were bestowed on us by someone with a “lev tov” (good heart), a someone who owed us nothing, a malach (angel) who expected nothing, who looks for no rewards or accolades.  It’s an unknown passersby who runs into a burning building and rescues a sleeping child; a human being who sends an anonymous money order to a starving family; a person who donates a kidney to an unknown patient without thinking of himself, and the person who risks his own safety to defend and rescue an innocent person from a street attack.

If we examine our own lives we will find a number of acts of exceptional kindness that came our way.  I will here touch upon a few that I personally witnessed or experienced in my many years on this earth.  As a young child I was sitting on a bench in a train station in Belgium with my destitute, feverish mother, poorly attired sister, and two-year-old brother, contemplating what to do next.  Having just escaped the Nazis from Aachen to Belgium, we were frightened and very anxious and hungry.  Two Belgian soldiers approached us and with sign language (we could not speak their language nor they ours) pointed at us to follow them.  My poor mother was too ill to object and these two angels bought us white bread, mugs of coffee and chocolates and disappeared into the crowd.  It was the best and most unexpected gift that we had gotten since leaving the Nazis.

As we, the four “escapees” were sitting at the harbor in Southampton waiting to get into the steamship SS Washington that would take us to America, we were informed that there was no space and it was overbooked.  It was the last boat to leave for the US since the war was raging, mines were laid in the ocean and we were to return.  Return to where?  England refused to keep Jewish refugees; Germany would kill us the moment we landed there.  We had no funds, but only the steamship tickets that my mother held in her closed hand.  After waiting for hours, a Malach by the name of Mr. Cartwright came along.  He was a social worker.  This gentleman did not know us but he recognized our agony.  He went up to the captain, who was about to enter as the last person aboard.  Mr. Cartwright hung on to the man's leg and pleaded with him, with tears in his eyes, to let us “squeeze” onto the boat.  After an enormous struggle we were admitted.  Was this not a Ness (Miracle)?!!!  What did Mr. Cartwright gain?  I know for certain if a Gan Eden (heaven) exists he is there!

There was Miss Rhoades, my wonderful fifth grade teacher, who dealt with a poorly dressed ten year old day in and day out, after a full schedule of teaching, and spent hours on a daily basis teaching me English.  She received no remuneration for the endless hours of her precious time that she repeated the concept “either, or”.  I can still hear her clear voice pointing to herself, then to me, attempting to have me understand that concept.  She was truly an angel who arduously and with almost inhuman effort succeeded in teaching me the English language.

There are many, many more extraordinary blessings that I experienced in my life and those of my loved ones.  When I compare those to the unacceptable, malicious deeds or cruelties, the blessings stand out far above anything else! When I feel exceptionally sad, I take myself back to the Malochim and their deeds and appreciate those folks who truly care!  It is a revelation that will help us all to consider when we travel through life!


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the co-author, with Dr. Gerhard Falk, of  Deviant Nurses & Improper Patient Care (2006).

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