Friday, 6 February 2009

Forwarding - and Sending - Emails of Kindness. Never too Young to Shine


Isn’t email amazing?! In the last few days, I have personally received news about almost every single happening in the world – all around. I heard of people (who don’t exist) in need of prayer – with demands being made of their most sorry sad situation. I heard of anti-Semitic bank tellers sending the most vicious hate email (and wonder at the real truth behind the “sender”.)And I recalled the variety of emails received in the past regarding various people of the Merkaz HaRav attack who are still in need of healing (although it’s known that these particular emails too were hoaxes!) I thought to myself, what a “wonderful” world. It seems we just can’t get enough of forwarding on – with absolute glee – those things that are simply irrelevant and time wasters for everyone – or contain such hatred, and ugly photographs in them, that nobody in their right mind wants to get home from a hard day of work to stare at such images before going to bed. 

Then I thought to myself of the other side of the coin. We’ve begun a number of exciting projects to help various people in real life situations (unlike the false pictures retouched with Photoshop, and the “sick” people who don’t exist.) Our biggest and most exciting project is our Mikvah project, helping women who cannot afford the expense of visiting a Mikvah on a monthly basis – to immerse at absolutely no cost! WOW! (See more on this blog or go directly to

In contrast to the multitude of emails I see posted on the various newsgroups etc. regarding the hatred the world nations have towards each other – and the enthusiastic prayer requests for people that don’t exist, I thought about the really “enthusiastic” response we received from a variety of people – regarding our own postings to “make the world a better place.” From those who moderate the Jewish newsgroups on the Internet, to individual people. Regarding our postings about every project we do, we’ve had some really welcoming responses – anything from “Please stop posting your things, everybody already knows what you do…” to “We don’t do Tzeddakah things.” (sic) (Although of course the gore is posted daily for everyone who doesn’t already have enough difficulties in life – to really get stuck into and “enjoy!”) It seems much of the Jewish community has had it with people posting about things that do good, can help, bring peace and goodness – and kindness to the world.

But the excitement of a vulgar, frightening email (with no proof of the real culprit behind it) blaming this nation and that nation for apparently putting it altogether gets thrust around the Internet in milliseconds as each person hurriedly types in EVERY email address in their contact lists, and then with much impatience, hits the send button, making sure every other person should get to know the horrid things going on – and make certain to send it out to the next 5000 people as well to make sure the email goes around the world at least 10 times so that everyone knows the “truth.”

Can one possibly imagine the *tremendous* good that could happen in those same milliseconds, if for example, instead of the excitement at sending out vicious emails attacking everyone else in the world for things they never actually did (or of people that don’t actually exist,) people would use their energies to forwarding the positive good of acts of goodness and kindness?! 

I wondered this to myself recently as I thought of friends who continually wonder about the many projects we are involved in and feel somewhat abashed at having to forward the emails concerning our projects to their own friends. And as I wondered, another frightening email was sent, telling us once again of the atrocities of the world – things we should never forget, the “inappropriate” behaviour of the rest of the world, and the need for us to well remember these things. That this is what being a Jew is all about. (Kashrut, Shabbat, Family Purity, Tefillin, Mezuzot, Lashon HaRa, helping another Jew and a host of other really beautiful kindnesses – never seems to enter their vocabulary… but the hatred emails continually come through. They just don’t seem to stop, no matter how much we’ve asked others not to send them.)

Imagine the difference of putting everything into the correct perspective - even for just the millisecond it takes to send an email? Imagine the satisfaction of sending an email to promote another Jew? Not just to give money, but to help them make themselves known so that others will give to them as well. 

Imagine taking all that energy invested in the impatience of sending out those vicious emails, and using that "impatience with another terrible email" for spreading goodness? Of not feeling embarrassed at the acts of kindness of another? Can we ever imagine the goodness that will zoom around the world in split seconds? Imagine the sudden change to the goodness of the world, of an email asking others to help a good cause – and telling friends to send it to their entire address book – so that *this* goes around the world 10 times – and comes back to you afterward (that very night!) Imagine the sudden change that this would create for the entire world? I'm not talking about about a cute picture email which says "please send this to 20 of your friends and you'll become a millionaire in three days time." I'm talking about an email with value - made out in sincerity - to actually help another person. Not something just forwarded on - but rather something composed by none other - than you yourself?

A world where the baseless hatred not just amongst one nation itself – but the hatred caused between different nations due to false accusations and allegations – would suddenly be changed into baseless love. A world where every email that goes out falsely accuses others for the possible good they have?! 

Aharon the Kohain did this very thing (although he didn’t have email, sea-mail or snail mail.) Of course, he never lied. What was so great about him? He saw the great value of every single Jew. He knew that hidden in each one was a true love for the other – a natural love – a G-dly love. When two people would be fighting, he would approach each and tell him that the other was really sorry for what he had done and wanted to make up. Then he would go to the other with the same story. Having felt guilty about the whole episode and the love that the other had for him, both would unite, hugging each other with tears flowing from them – never knowing that such things had never taken place – that Aharon had “fabricated” it all.

But Aharon had not fabricated anything, because in truth, these two people had never really wanted to fight in the first place. Their fight was an external one. Internally all they ever wanted was peace. Aharon showed them that, and they realised it.

When will we learn to advertise good instead of dwell upon the “delight” of the atrocities going on – today? When will we feel ashamed to forward the disgust of the world – and feel honoured and privileged to send out to help others?

Here are my thoughts: 

Sending hate mail (even when it was sent by your other 50 friends) does nothing more than increase hatred – for everyone.

The constant staring at such images destroys the very soul and pulls one down so low, that one feels there is simply no hope in life at all.

What to do? Delete the email before even glancing at it. Besides, if another person doesn’t even have the decency to greet you or share a little about what the article or pictures has done to him – does that email even earn your respect to read it yourself?!

On the side of good: 

Tell those sending those emails to stop! Or simply filter out any email from these people.
For every hating email that comes forwarded to you, send a message back to the sender telling them to focus their energy on sending out beautiful thoughts. (Did they know that this is just as permissible to do – to send the good rather than the negative?) Better yet, forward back an email to them - filled with encouraging words to ACT NOW and do something good for another.
Be of those who send beautiful thoughts to others. Those things that will actively help them, encourage them and show your sincere interest in wanting only the best for them.

What can one small kindness do? What can one candle amongst the darkness of the world do? Does it help to actually be this candle – to light it for another, to be that role model – to take the stand and bring some light where there is nothing at present? 

Watch this video of the Lubavitcher Rebbe where he shares the most wonderful story of a young girl – not even BatMitzvah, who became excited at bringing just a little light into her life – and what it did for her family. 

If this is what it did for her family, imagine what it did for those who came into contact with the family afterward.

Better yet, imagine what one email – one word of kindness can do to transform the entire world – now – to the scale of merit, and ultimately bring redemption to the world – TODAY!

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