It happens with the best intentions. A regular, normative family finds itself turning into the object of a “chessed project,” and they hardly know how it happened! The family’s dignity is compromised and their privacy intruded upon* The way to misguided chessed is paved with good intentions…
A class had a project to “collect acts of chessed.”
“What chessed did you do?” the teacher asked Brocha.
“I helped an old lady with heavy bags cross the street,” Brocha replied.
The teacher nodded and gave her a point.
“And you, what chessed did you do?” she asked Rachel.
“I helped an old lady with heavy bags cross the street,” answered Rachel.
The teacher murmured something, gave Rachel a point and called on Gila: “And you?”
“I helped an old lady with heavy bags cross a dangerous street,” Gila reported.
The teacher was about to mark a point for Gila, too, when she stopped short.
“I don’t understand,” she wondered. “So many old ladies with heavy bags crossed the street yesterday?”
“No,” the children laughed. ‘There was only one old lady. But she didn’t want to cross the street and it took all three of us to drag her across together…”
Sound familiar? The reason it is humorous is that it is an exaggerated form of what often happens in real life.
When a similar, but all too real incident took place, it wasn’t the least bit funny. Continue reading Dignity: The Ultimate in Chessed (Good Deeds)