When I reflect back on the speech of the First Lady, Michelle Obama last night, I think of the Jewish Mitzvah of Gemilut Chassadim. It became evident to me, that when Mrs. Obama spoke, she spoke of that particular mitzvah. I heard the echoes of it when she spoke of the sacrifices her parents made and the President’s parents made so that they could succeed. I heard it when she spoke of leaving the door to success open so that future generations could also walk through, and I heard it when she said that her husband, the President of the United States of America, stays up late at night and reads about the struggles of his people.
The most moving part was when she said, “he turns to me and says
Michelle, you should read what these people go through…it’s not right!” No
matter your politics, it feels good to know that a man, as busy as the President
of the United States is, is worried about us.
You see, the point of Gemilut Chassadim is to make sure…to make sure...that
no one is left alone to fend for themselves. It can be expressed in a thousand
ways because in the expression, we remember our own needs and that any creature that has needs should and must remember the feeling of being in need when he or she sees that another is in need.
It can be expressed in the opening of a door for an elder, visiting the
sick in the hospital or staying up late at night working on a way to make the
lives of everyone better. When you finally realize the deep commitment that we
are expected to have for each other, it can be emotionally overwhelming. I saw
in there in the face of Michelle Obama. The tears in the eyes of Mrs. Obama
showed me debt of compassion that she has for her husband, her children and her country.
Mrs. Obama said one other thing that hit me hard. She said that the
office of the President doesn’t change a man, it reveals a man. Who knew that
it would reveal that Barack Obama has a Jewish heart, one that can fulfill the
Mitzvah of Gemilut Chassadim.
Mario Brown lives in Edmonds.