The Matzav Shmoooze: The Other Hatzolah Heroes


Dear Editor,

Kudos to my local hatzolah volunteers. No, Matzav readers, I’m not talking about the Hatzolah members you are thinking of. Those volunteers work in the public eye and receive regular recognition for the dedication and commitment they bring while being matzil nefashos. They deserve the accolades, of course.
I’m referring to a different sort of hatzolah. You see, I have what is often described as “issues.” Many people ignore me when they pass me by. Others go so far as to cross the street.

But some yechidei segulah, some very special people, make a conscious effort to greet me with a smile.

Kol hakavod to the unknown hatzolah members. They are truly matzil nefashos.

Mara Shechora
Brooklyn, NY

{ Newscenter}


  1. This is a very important point and post.

    There are many, many yidden, lulei demistafina, who feel ignored. Particularly, in our selfie, self-adulating, self-promoting culture, many feel marginalized. They don’t have the money to contribute to, let alone be honored at, a dinner. They aren’t on the internet writing blogs or posting pictures online. They aren’t a gvir or macher in shul and so they don’t get very many aliyos.

    They are quiet and keep their problems to themselves. Sometimes they even “burden” others with their problems.

    One of the greatest tzedakos we can do is say hello to people, smile at people, make a point of being nice and considerate and caring to other people. It costs nothing! You can do this mitzvah of tzedakah even if you yourself are poor.

    Particularly if you are a person of lesser means, your public displays of affection for fellow Jews (fellow human beings, even) accomplishes two things. One, it makes the other person feel better, more important, more part of the tzibbur, more alive. And two, it demonstrates by example to the other person that one can be “samei’ach bechelko.”

  2. Dear Mara
    We may have been learned in the womb, but no one is born learned. No one teaches how to behave with people who have health problems. And it’s not just “issues”: I had a friend with a life-threatening health problem who mentioned to her MD, a good friend of ours, that the disease, no one can help it – but the worst part is the awkwardness of well-meaning visitors… (at this point my blood froze: I was no doubt among them)

    I ask your forgiveness, please believe I am not a despicable human being, and sometimes I cross the road because I am afraid of causing even more hurt with my cluelessness and clumsiness. What about you write another letter – to us all and to our children – with advice on how to conduct ourselves. I sure wish I was taught in school, but I was not.

  3. I think this article was written for the sole purpose of ensuring there would finally be a Reader’s Write. There had not been one for several months.