A few months ago, I wrote about starting my chesed project with the “Cohen” family who…didn’t really seem to need much help. I remember being confused as to why a stay-at-home mom of three healthy kids needed my help when people like my roommate were helping families with totally incapacitated kids. Whatever the reason, I got assigned to this family, and I haven’t questioned it…what do I know about how this chesed system works?
And then I went to this one family for Shabbos; they live in my Jerusalem neighborhood and I get set up with them through my school’s Shabbos placement program. I’m pretty sure they’re both affiliated with the seminary. Anyway, so this family has six kids under 15, and the most luxurious house I’ve ever seen in Jerusalem. Even having two stories is something rare over here (my apartment has that, but there are also nine of us living there), but it was more than that. They had totally redone their kitchen, and it had two of everything (making keeping kosher really easy). Now, in kosher homes, two ovens is standard, but two dishwashers?! Most Israelis don’t even have one. And they also had an island in the middle of the kitchen (also something I’d never seen in Jerusalem), and ridiculous amounts of counter space. There were also I think five bedrooms and ample living room space for them, their six kids, and the seven guests they had for that Shabbos meal.
And then I gave them regards from my flatmate V., on her request. The response was enthusiastic: “Oooh, V.! We love her! She used to be our chessed girl!” And I think my jaw hit the ground, because why in the world would THIS family have needed chessed?! They were just so put-together; amazingly well-behaved kids, wonderful hosts, clean house, amazing food, and I just don’t know what they would have even needed help with.
Who would have thought…?