Not too long ago I learned of the legend of the Lamed-Vov. The lamedvovnik are 36 righteous people in the world whose job it is to carry the weight of human suffering. No one knows who they are, including the lamedvovnik themselves. Not knowing makes it important for all of us to behave as if WE might be one of the lamedvovnik AND to treat others as if they might be. Why? Because if there are less than 36 lamedvovnik, the world will collapse.

Taking this story to heart creates a new awareness for me. I have a significant responsibility, as do we all, to treat people with compassion, understanding and empathy. What if I am one of the lamedvovnik? What if the bus driver, the baker, or the old man slowly crossing the street in front of me is a member? Thinking this way, it is important I do my part to behave thoughtfully and with kindness, which begins with my smallest actions. When I behave with kindness, I plant positive seeds.

The picture I’m using here is of Melinda’s grandfather, Les Stangl. It was taken a year or two before he died, probably in 2004 or 2005.

Today’s Question: Who did you treat with kindness today?

4 thoughts on “Lamed-Vov

  1. I seem to be a day behind in my posts… but yesterday I was shopping in Barnes and Nobles and there was a long line forming behind the check out counter. There were five people ahead of me and the man who jumped in just before me and I joked about his “cutting in line” which he didn’t. But after waiting what seemed a very long time, the line had doubled and the woman behind me nervously shared that she had a flight to catch. I did not tell her to go ahead of me, but when I got to the line, I gestured to her and told the clerk to check her out first as she had a flight to catch. She was greatly relieved and thanked me profusely as she went on her way. And I had a good day! Now as I reflect back, I would like to assume that her purpose for that flight was more important than anything I was doing yesterday.

    1. Another great story. I do think it’s these “little” gestures that define our humanity.

      I’m finding myself toying with your statement that her purpose for that flight was more important than anything you were doing. Maybe, maybe not. But what does it do to the situation if we remove the judgement of relative importance? What if it is all one big interrelated situation in which her flight, you both standing in line, the clerk, the man, you letting her go ahead of you, etc were all part of the same thing, each a piece of that moment’s puzzle? Are any pieces in a puzzle more important than any others?

      Perhaps she right now is posting on someone’s blog about the “kindness” displayed to her by you, writing about its “importance.”

      1. And, perhaps those people in line who observed the exchange, all went forth and performed some kind gesture of their own that afternoon? How lovely would that be?

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