• Rachel Shifra Tal

Pay it backwards

One of my favorite movies is called ‘Pay it forward.’ This movie, without giving anything away, is about how small, individual acts of loving kindness can have a ripple effect that goes out into the world with ever-expanding consequences.

The global experience of how one minuscule little virus, too tiny to see with the human eye, has shown us what can happen when one person interacts another, with even the most casual contact. This virus has the capacity to literally bring the human world to a standstill! And it happens when one person takes something, and passes it on to at least one other. You can see its ripple effect, constantly expanding and being tracked across the globe on numerous websites, some of them constantly updating almost in real time! One quote I saw was that a single human could infect directly up to 13 people and then the numbers just snowball from there!

As the world media report on little else and millions are affected, the question on many people's mind, what can we learn from this? People will be analyzing this epidemic from literally every angle, most likely for years to come.

What can we learn right now? Something positive from all this pain and sorrow? Think about the concept of ‘pay it forward.’

Many, myself included have felt moments of true desperation at the situation we are in. Some feel restricted, scared, lonely and many wonder where the next paycheck will come from if at all.

Here is a small thought on this global experience we are all struggling through, that may give a bit of hope.

Imagine, what if we could track and see how each small act of love, chesed, kindness, patience and tzedaka we do affects the world around us. What are the local, regional and global impacts of our actions?

Incredible! We have NO clue about the positive impact we can have! But, what if, we could see it? Overnight we have seen this world changed. In less than 100 days, life changed for hundreds millions maybe even billions. All this is the result of one small tiny little itsy bitsy virus. We can’t see the virus, but we can see the wake of its passage through the world. The Torah says that the reason one cannot see their own face (without a mirror) is because, it doesn't belong to us. Our face is for others. I love this! (Side note, one can see one's nose if they look down and cross your eyes...you all just tried it now didn't you!?) One smile, one gesture of kindness, one compliment, an expression of truly seeing someone, can make a world of difference! A thought, what if we pay it backwards? That person who gave you the strength to go on today, turn back to them and tell them what they mean to you. We can pay kindness backwards as well as forwards. I bless us all with the exercise of true, deep and meaningful gratitude. May we change our world for the good and see an explosion of kindness that circumnavigates the globe!


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