WWW.KOSHERDELIGHT.COM - GLOBAL JEWISH DIRECTORY WITH NEWS AND INFORMATION, TRAVEL, EDUCATION, PARENTING, HOLIDAYS AND MORE   כושר דילייט - מגאזין יהודי באינטרנט הכולל חדשות ומידע יהודי גלובלי. המגאזין כולל: בתי חב"ד, בתי ספר יהודיים, אוכל כשר ומסעדות כשרות, מקוואות, חינוך ועוד

   

Kosher Restaurants

Kosher Hotels

Synagogues

Kosher recipes

Mikvah

Jewish Holidays

KOSHER RESTAURANTS

KOSHER HOTELS

SYNAGOGUES

KOSHER RECIPES

MIKVAOT

JEWISH HOLIDAYS

                          ב"ה   
KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!

Bullet Home
Bullet
SITE INDEX
BulletJEWISHKD.COM
Bullet
DONATE 

KOSHER
BulletKosher restaurants
   Around the World!
BulletKosher Hotels
Bullet
Kosher Recipes 

BulletVegetarian Restaurants
Bullet
Updates from the
   Chief Rabbinate of
   Israel

BulletKosher Alcohol Updates
Bullet
Kashrut Authorities
BulletKosher Products Lists

Bullet
Kashrut Comments

BET DIN OUTSIDE ISRAEL
BulletInternational Directory of Rabbinical Courts

SHABBAT
BulletCandle Lighting Times
   for Shabbat & Holidays


NEWS
Bullet
News & Media


JEWISH STUFF...
BulletJewish Simcha
BulletJudaism, Spiritualism,
   Opinions and more

Bullet
Jewish Communities
   Around the World

Bullet
Parashat
   HaShavuah
   
Bullet
Jewish Holidays
Bullet
Synagogues
Bullet
Mikvaot
Bullet
Chabad Houses
Bullet
Aish HaTorah
Bullet
Young Israel  
Bullet
NCSY
Bullet
B'nai Akiva
Bullet
Hillel
BulletThe Holocaust


PARENTING
BulletParenting
BulletJewish Camps
BulletKids
Bullet
Babies


HEALTH
Bullet
Jewish Hospitals
Bullet
Your Health
Bullet
Do not Abuse
    Drugs and Alcohol


FRIENDS ON 4
BulletOur Pets
BulletThe Dog Trainer: Q & A
BulletThe Veterinarian Corner
Bullet הטסת כלבים
Bullet כלבים: עכשיו הדיאטה
Bulletהיצלנו את לוקה


BulletInsurance New!
BulletQuestions & Answers
Bullet
Links


BulletCONTACT US!  


 
 
     
 
 
     
 

Lessons in Empathy
Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

Shortly after my marriage, my in-laws sent us to visit with one of their friends for a Sunday Barbeque. When we got to the home we saw men hauling away the last remnants of an old tree. The couple was standing in front of their home with tears in their eyes as they watched the last of pieces of the tree dragged off their property.
 
I was 22 years old and having spent much of my life within the four walls of educational institutions, I was just becoming aware of the scope of global pain - wars, disease, death etc. This knowledge made it hard for me deal with grown ups crying over a tree, but regardless of my personal feelings, this friendship was important to my in-laws and I also didn't want to appear callous.
 
The problem was, how could I sound empathetic over a lost tree if I never lost a tree nor did I feel the magnitude of the loss of the tree relative to the many other problems in this world?
 
I then realized that all I have to do is listen. The couple told me that the tree was there when they moved into the house 25 years previously. Their children climbed this tree, they built tree houses on it, they swung on it and sat and talked under this tree. The tree represented a great part of their life together, and it was very much a part of their home and their history. Just listening to them express their loss, I was able to understand it from their perspective and express empathy.
 
One afternoon I was walking through the streets of Manhattan, with my brother Rabbi Shimon, on the way to an appointment. While I waited at a corner for a red light to change to green, a familiar looking man waiting with me for the light turned around and said, "Hi!" I asked him how he's doing. He answered, "I lost my mother 71/2 months ago." I took a moment and then expressed my sympathy and my good wishes. The light changed and we continued to walk. My brother asked me, "Who was that?"  I said, "I don't know." He said, "But you sounded like you really felt for his loss and he looked comforted by your words." I told my brother that I didn't have to know who the man was to feel for his loss. I later realized who he was, but that didn't make a difference in my empathy. I learned that to show empathy for someone's loss, I could draw on a loss in my own life.
 
The parents of a mentally disabled child sat in my office and spoke to me. The challenge of dealing with this child affected the mother's belief in G-d and the couple was seeking to help the woman strengthen her belief in religion. Since I never went through this specific test in life, I was somewhat at a loss of what to tell them. I wanted to give them  empathy, but I couldn't. I therefore gave what I could - sympathy and some advice. I got them in touch with a support group of parents with the same challenges so they can get the empathy they needed.  I advised them to deal with the physical problem of how to care for the child before dealing with the religious aspect. I connected them with programs directed to their child's disability. Before they left my office I once again expressed my sympathy.
 
After the physical and moral support was set up and they had a better handle on their personal difficulties, the couple came back to my office and we revisited the issue from a spiritual perspective. They found that the spiritual complemented and uplifted the physical. Even though I never "walked a mile in their shoes" they felt my sympathy, and perhaps even empathy, from my tone of voice and actions. I realized that not always can one put themselves in another's shoes. Sometimes all you can do is express sympathy and give advice.
 
While thinking these three stories through I realized that they don't just teach clergy a lesson, but every one else, too. Our lives today bring us in contact with a broad spectrum of people - family, friends, neighbors and co-workers - many of whom go through difficult times. What a challenge it is for us to show proper empathy.
 
Empathy should not be intrusive - a listening ear should be offered, but not forced on anyone. Some people have a support system. Some people would rather talk to a stranger and some would rather not talk at all.
 
Empathy can be broken down into three parts. We have to listen whole heartedly, then identify with the feeling of the person we're talking to - even if it's a different magnitude or the issue is on a different level. You don't have to fly on an airplane to understand turbulence - riding a roller coaster or a jumpy elevator can help you understand the feeling.
 
When we can't identify with someone else's feeling we should express sympathy and give practical advice. Ultimately, whether its sympathy or empathy expressing an honest feeling is the most important thing.

 

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht

 

 
KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE! כושר דילייט - מגזין החדשות והמידע מהעולם היהודי ומישראל, כולל מסעדות כשרות, בתי כנסת ועוד ועוד

Zikit Translation Services

ZIKIT TRANSLATION SERVICES , שירותי תירגום, שרותי תירגום, שירות תרגומים, שירות תירגומים, שרות תרגום, תירגום, תרגום, תירגום מסמכים, תירגום תעודות, תרגום טכני, תירגום טכני, תרגום, תרגומים מעברית לאנגלית, תרגומים מאנגלית לעברית, תרגום עברי אנגלית אנגלי עברי -  זיקית שירותי תרגום

www.zikit.org


THE JEWISH HOLOCAUST
THE HOLOCAUST - THE SHOAH

Advertise with Us!

KD Kosher Recipe Collection
Send us your 
Kosher Recipe!


COMPREHENSIVE WORLDWIDE JEWISH SEARCH: JEWISHKD.COM Comprehensive Worldwide Jewish Search