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When Love Multiplies

A Homecare Story

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As soon as I entered the elevator, I knew where I had to go. On the button of the fifth floor there was a bright yellow sticker. That helps Noam to know which button to push. In his simply furnished home, nothing has been changed around. He feels and shuffles along in order to find his way in his own home. When we enter, he turns his head in the direction of the noise. “How are you?” we ask, and he gloomily tells us about his recent visit to the doctor. He had tried to assure Noam, “All is well”. But Noam knows the real answer, “All is well means that I cannot see any more and it will not get better.”

He can hardly get by with the small pension he receives, so I bring a bag full of groceries every week. I show him everything, and he ‘sees’ it by touching it with his hands. “We can do this because of faithful donors”, I say to him. “Just a small gesture”, I tell him. He lifts his head. “Don’t say that,” he says. Then he starts telling his story. “When I was a young boy, I lived in a Shtetl (a small village with a majority of Jewish inhabitants) with my parents. One day in Ukraine our freedom was taken from us. Our synagogue went underground; the Jewish men met in secret to say the prayers together. Every day we brought 10 small coins, our daily gift. We were not rich. This small amount was all we could bring. At the end of the year the coins were counted and after one year it had grown to a nice sum which was distributed among the poor in the fellowship. So, please thank all the givers for me and may the Eternal One bless them!”

I reflect on his words. Giving, even if you have very little, makes rich. Noam says that the Torah has given him life. His ancestors were followers of the Torah, and his grandfather was the cantor in the synagogue. When he arrived in Israel at age 70, there were many difficulties. Noam worked hard until he was 82 years old. His beloved wife passed away after 60 years of marriage abd his two children with their families live outside Israel. He often feels so very lonely, but he does not regret having made Aliyah. He says that he found freedom in Israel.

Our visit makes him joyful. When I leave, he always asks the same question: “Will you come again soon? I am waiting for you.”

 

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