My uncle Sol died recently. I went to his funeral in New York with my wife, and on the airplane there, thought about his life. He was the last remaining male in my family from that generation. The son of immigrants, he served in the U.S. military during WWII. He then built his own business, had a family, and was loved by many. He was very generous, giving to a number of charitable organizations, and being honored for his contributions. I distinctly remember him telling me, “You never go poor by giving to charity.” I often have thought about that quote, and will always link it to Sol.
In the Talmud, we are taught,
There are three crowns: the crown of the Torah,
The crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty.
But the crown of a good name surpasses them all.
Sol was actually a founding member of his synagogue in Harrison, New York. But during his life, Sol was never strictly religiously observant. He always believed that his faith was lived rather than thought. To help others is the supreme act of faith. To believe that he could help make the world better by his actions most certainly (if we can speak in such terms) put a smile on God’s face.
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Dr. Joel Roffman has spoken to many church, synagogue and support groups. His book, Coping with Adversity: Judaism’s response to illness and other life struggles is enjoyable, uplifting and informative. It is meant for people of all faiths and can be viewed at www.copingwithadversity.com. It is available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com.